Personally, I think the CMMG Banshee AR Pistol design is genius. Why? Because it copies a design I used to build my own 300 Blackout AR pistol a year or so ago! The question is, did they improve on what I’m already pretty happy with?
The truth is I’m not alone in my love for this form factor. I don’t think I was the first or last to embrace the concept, though I was certainly one of the first to build an AR Pistol that utilized the Gear Head Works Tailhook brace (Mod 1). AR pistols like the CMMG Banshee give us the benefits of an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) but without the headaches and restrictions true SBR ownership has: Quick maneuverability, easy storage, and don’t become unusually long when you add a silencer to them. When I built mine, I wanted something lightweight that would be great for home defense, hopping in and out of the Ultimate Hunting Vehicle (or ATV, etc.) while hunting that would run 300 Blackout suppressed and unsuppressed.
Opening a box with a new gun in it generally brings a big smile to my face and this time was no different. Actually, that’s not true. This time was different. There was a certain sense of satisfaction, or maybe validation, given the immediately clear similarities to my own prior preferences.
Both the Banshee and my build use 1:7 twist eight inch 300 Blackout barrels, both use Magpul grips, both have handguards that run the length of the barrels, both have ambidextrous safety selectors, and both use Gear Head Works Tailhook braces. The CMMG opted to use the Mod 2 Tailhook on the Banshee where I’d used a Mod 1 for my build. I wasn’t sure I’d be sold on the Mod 2 as it’s polymer while the Mod 1 is metal. Mod 2 gives us the ability to adjust the brace length. Who cares? Me, as it turns out, somewhat to my surprise. It’s kind of nice to be able to set to your personal preference and yields an overall length of 24.5 inches. Both have oversized charging handles, but the CMMG is a better design, better form factor and fully ambidextrous. Then Banshee also benefits from an ambidextrous sling plate.
Both my custom build and the Banshee have adjustable gas blocks and suppressor mounts. Mine started out life with Silencerco ASR mount for a Specwar 762 can I had. My handguard theoretically worked with the Specwar diameter, but it didn’t quite accommodate the diameter of the ASR ring. I ended up at a machine shop to get material removed from inside of the muzzle end of my rail to make it all work. Goodbye anodizing, hello frustration. More recently I replaced all that with the direct thread of the Bowers Group Vers 30T, but CMMG made their MLOK RML7 handguard just the right length to accommodate any suppressor and look good doing it. The 300 Blackout Banshee comes equipped with the CMMG DefCan 3 Flash Hider, a mount for their new series of silencers which I’ve not yet tested. I removed that to mount a Silencerco Omega and think that combo is pretty great.
The Banshee upper and lower receivers are forged while my build utilized a matched billet set from Cross Machine Tool. I definitely like the look of my build, but at no extra charge the Banshee ships in custom Cerakote colors! The one you see here is Slate colored. It looks different in different light, and you’re viewing this on a monitor that probably isn’t color corrected, so getting the exact color across is hard. Personally, I think it looks sweet. Between the medium taper contour barrel and forged receivers, the Banshee weighs in at a mere 5.2 pounds compared to my six pound build. Another win for the Banshee pistol.
My build wins on the trigger. I used a Timney while CMMG used their own Milspec single stage. If like me you’ve been burned by mushy sorry “Milspec” triggers, you’ll be impressed with the Banshee’s stock trigger. It’s good, and if you like a solid reset, well, just watch and listen to it on the video.
While the rifle ships to most destinations with a single 30 round PMAG, I loaded up a stack of Hexmags to test the rifle. They look great and I have a bunch of them. I ran the gun with a variety of ammo I had in a drawer, supersonic suppressed and unsuppressed, and subsonic suppressed. It ran like you’d expect, no issues. I was very happy not to have to adjust the gas block no matter what ammo I ran regardless of whether I had it suppressed.
CMMG is producing the Banshee in both pistol and SBR configurations. 9mm, 45 ACP, 300 Blackout and 22 LR will all be available. Suppressed, you know that .22 would be a lot of fun!
The Banshee 300 Blackout (both pistol and SBR) MSRP is $1,449.95.
What would I choose today, my build or the Banshee? They both look good and run well, but the real win in my mind is that the Banshee is just right, right out of the box. Everything works, no extra milling, no mismatched handguard issues, and if you want to upgrade your trigger to something like my Timney it’s a piece of cake. The custom Cerakote colors offered by CMMG are the icing on that cake.
You’ll want to watch the video not only because you get to see the gun in action, but I cover a few things there that didn’t make this written piece. When you’re done, tell us which one you’d pick in the comments below. No login required!