Everyone has their own idea of fun. Some enjoy rock climbing. Others prefer scrapbooking or wine tasting. Our Publisher Jonathan is a mountain biking maniac. Each person rides their own road experiencing the “thrill of life” in their own way. Equally so, everyone has their personal to-do list of priorities.
Some may need to fill the freezer. Others might want to beef up their home security or need to get in some quality time with the family. The demands for all of us go on and on. But every once in a while, something special happens. The roads of FUN and GET ’R DONE intersect…and things get crazy! That’s exactly where I discovered the Alexander Arms Highlander Series.
First things first, I have no idea where the “Highlander” name for these AR pistols came from. Google “Highlander” and you’ll get Toyota targeting upper middle class families with sixth graders and some throwbacks to an old movie with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.
Given the movie at least has weapons, let’s assume that’s the legacy Alexander Arms was going for here. In any case, when Jonathan asked if my daughters and I wanted to get some trigger time on these for a project, I didn’t hesitate!
Thankfully, while the Highlander pistols may have drawn their name from the movie, my life revolves less around daily blood battles than it does my do-do list and the quest for fun. These little AR’s are always up for a good time and in my experience are the very definition of fun. After four hours of popping cans, shattering wood and exploding melons with my kids, I had a bruised shoulder, my nine year old had been scoped by the Beowulf and we were all freezing…but none of us were ready to stop shooting!
If one were to find themselves holding an AR-15 rifle in one hand and a Highlander pistol in the other, some differences would be immediately apparent. The traditional stock has been replaced with a brace and the barrel is considerably shorter. Other than that, the Highlanders are AR-15s (with one exception, the 17 HMR action is not pure bred AR). They look, feel and function like their full sized siblings. Still, they are different and their “less is more” personality simply must be experienced first hand.
Old school, you might assume with the eleven and twelve in barrels (depending on caliber) you’d give up a lot of muzzle velocity. I’m still in school, but resident SHWAT™ research guru and Pro Staffer Dylan Saunders ran some numbers for the rest of us. Regarding the Beowulf he says:
Between a 16” barrel and a 24”, there is hardly any gain in velocity, which would lead me to believe that powder burn is complete in a 16” barrel or less. In a 12” barrel, I’m getting 1605 fps average, which is above factory listed velocity for the 16” barrel, and that by the way, is quite incredible. So if powder burn is not complete in 12”, it is certainly sufficient for anything you need this caliber to do.
Right, what he said! The creators of the Highlander pistols knew what they were doing, keeping the package small but the ballistics on target. Think about it, they removed almost half a foot of barrel length delivering increasing versatility, mobility and ease of use and storage.
With calibers including the “Barbie bullet”, 17 HMR, the “Do it all” 6.5 Grendel, the ever popular 300 Blackout, and “the Beast”, 50 Beowulf, there is something for everyone and every purpose. Can I fit in my pack? Yes. Can I maneuver it easily in and out of my truck? Absolutely. Can I hunt with this thing? Yup! Will it make me look cooler? You bet! Whether it’s for recreation, self-defense, bear defense, hunting (where pistols are cool) or just sprucing up the gun safe these guns will not disappoint!
Sorry if that sounds like a commercial, but my kids each want one for Christmas and I’m writing this in May! Good thing we can choose from various Cerakote finishes to keep everyone happy. You can get these in black, OD green, Flat Dark Earth (FDE), Titanium, Burnt Bronze and Cobalt. Maybe I should have waited a couple of months for the enthusiasm to wear off before writing this? But then you might miss the whole idea of how much fun these are…
Let’s take a moment to talk about quality. True to form, Alexander Arms made these guns with all the right ingredients. All the Highlander pistols come with threaded barrels. So, yes! Suppress them! Or put a brake on them if you prefer. The Manticore Arms Transformer handguard is versatile, allowing for a variety of mounted accessory configurations. What do you want to throw on there? Flashlights, lasers, bipods, oh my! It will all fit. Or just leave it the way it is. I shot all three pistols with naked handguards and found a comfortable hold.
My other hand was equally contented around the grip. I often find myself frustrated in the grip department (too big, too much angle, not enough angle, too slippery, no contouring, etc.), but talk about a “hand in glove” fit. Ergo has done their thing once again for this pistol series leaving no one empty handed. Or awkward handed. Through the course of the day, I spent hours on these grips and not one single slip, cramp, regrip, regrip, REGRIP.
Traveling on down the gun, we’ll finish off with the component giving the Highlander its status as a pistol – The adjustable SB Tactical SBA3 brace. This was another element of the Highlander series that surprised me. I threw round after round through these guns and not once did I think “Huh, feels weird without a stock.” Almost like Americas transition from tube socks to ankle socks, it just felt right! And not just to me.
If you care about instilling a love for shooting, a respect for guns, and solid gun safety doctrine in kids, these Alexander Arms AR pistols are just right. Proportionally, the Highlander is for my daughter what a sixteen inch barreled AR-15 is for me. That makes the day shooting or hunting better her, better for me.
So do you really NEED another gun? Well, let’s look at it this way: I’m not a fan of collecting useless junk. Storage units and linen closets are my nemesis! On the other hand, I love things that serve a purpose and if one thing can serve multiple purposes, I get all kinds of excited (don’t even get me started on sporks). That being said, the Highlander pistol is totally my jam! I set out to kill some time and waste some bullets on grocery store produce and eggs.
After the first few shots, I found myself asking “Yeah, okay, but what would I use it for?” Immediately, I came up with multiple answers to my own question. Multiple answers to a single question? It’s like a spork that shoots bullets and makes me smile every time I pull that trigger! Go ahead. Get a hold of an Alexander Arms Highlander pistol and discover what my kids and I did! The only thing you’ll regret is not having brought enough ammunition.