Never before have I felt bad about writing an article before. Not until today’s Alexander Arms 6.5 Grendel Highlander Pistol review. Wait! It’s not for the reason you think. Let me explain…
Think back to when you were a kid on Christmas morning. While there are a ton of presents under the tree, there was only one toy your sibling wanted, one that they spent the whole year begging mom and dad for. It got to the point where you avoided talking to your sibling. Why? Because the chances of you hearing about this toy for the umpteenth time were higher than a healthy teenager surviving a bout with Covid-19. Watching your sibling unwrap this gift on Christmas was inevitable. So on Christmas morning, the wrapping paper gets torn apart as everyone digs into their presents. You anticipate the shriek of excitement from your sibling as they find the toy they lusted for over the last year. The majority of the gifts are open, but you have yet to hear that particular shout of joy.
Now all of the presents are open, except for one. This last present is the exact size of the toy your sibling demanded, I mean requested. The whole family watches as your sibling rips off the paper, opens the box, and lets out the loudest “Yippee-Ki-Yay!” anyone has ever heard. They are ecstatic as the tears of joy rolls down their face, but there is a problem. As you look down in the rubble of the wrapping paper and the opened box, you see the gift tag for this present. This toy actually belongs to you. Pretty dramatic huh?
You see, this was going to be Jonathan’s story about the Alexander Arms 6.5 Grendel Highlander Pistol. But apparently, it just wasn’t meant to be. He wanted to hunt hogs with this gun since FOREVER. The phrase, “One man’s loss is another man’s gain” definitely applies here. So I don’t feel about writing the actual review, I feel bad because I got Jonathan’s toy.
6.5 Grendel as a Hunting Pistol (or Rifle!)
The backstory on all of this is that we had a 6.5 Grendel hunt lined up where Jonathan was going to have his dreams become a reality and hog hunt with the Alexander Arms 6.5 Grendel Highlander Pistol. Unfortunately (for him) at the last minute, there was a mix-up in ammo and we had to move things around to have a successful hunt. The byproduct of the mishap was that this review fell into my lap. Here I am taking another one for the team.
If you do not know, I am a 6.5 Grendel fanboy. My go-to hunting rifle is a 16” Alexander Arms 6.5 Grendel Complete Tactical Rifle and this pistol is a “Mini-Me” of my rifle. Instead of the 16-inch barrel that I usually shoot, this Highlander pistol has an 11.5-inch barrel, but with the same 1:7.5 twist. With a shorter barrel, I lose a couple of hundred feet/second in velocity, but it’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. Alexander Arms was able to shave off almost 2 pounds on the pistol leaving it weighing a mere 5.6 pounds naked. With my Dead Air Nomad suppressor and AGM Secutor TS50-384 it weighs in at 8.8 pounds. The only other notable difference between my rifle and this new pistol is that the pistol came with a Velocity Classic 3lb trigger.
While I really like this pistol, there is one minor thing I would change. There are two QD mounts on the rail. One towards the barrel and the other is near the receiver. The QD mount near the barrel is not usable because the gas block sits right behind it. It is not the end of the world because the QD mount near the receiver works, but my preference is to position my sling near the front of the gun. Yes, this is me nitpicking and if this is the only thing I would change about the pistol, that is a good thing.
Prep for 6.5 Grendel Hunt
To zero the Highlander, I headed over to the Texas Gun Experience in Grapevine, Texas. Even though ammo was hard to come by, I had some Remington 120gr Boat-Tailed Hollow Point ammo stashed away. After setting up my target, I punched the button to send it 50 yards downrange. I loaded 20 rounds into my two new 24 round Elander mags and shot all 40 rounds! 40 rounds to zero? Not really. I had no issues zeroing, but I needed to get used to that light 3 lb Velocity trigger. I felt confident that this setup would produce some great results but it would be a couple of days before I could test this theory.
As I loaded everything into the vehicle, I realized this is the maiden voyage of my Vertx Gamut Overland backpack. It sat right behind the center console, just within arms reach if I needed it.
When we got to the farm, my kids gave the grandparents a quick hug and hello as they ran to find the newly born kittens. I am more of a dog person, but cats do fill a role at a house in the country, keeping mice and other rodents at bay. I finished my routine of unloading, saying hello, and then waited for the darkness to set in.
Hunting with the Highlander 6.5 Grendel Pistol
This hunt was a first because I set a 2-hour time limit on this hunt. It is easy to hunt all night at the farm because there are pigs everywhere. Before I set the timer on my Apple Watch and departed in the truck, I scanned the field behind the house and saw a couple of coyotes. You don’t have to convince me to shoot a coyote, but it felt good knowing that there was one less coyote to bother the kittens. The timer on my watch started and the hunt began. A couple of hours later, my Apple Watch started pulsating which meant it was time to call it a night.
7 hogs and 1 coyote isn’t a bad hunt for two hours. It was very difficult for me to not feel like a failure. If there are less than ten dead hogs, I feel my hunt has failed. As I turned off the dirt road and into the last half mile to the house, I see a sounder in the same field as the dead coyote, but further east. I gently pull the truck over to the shoulder of the highway, exit, and scamper into the wheat field. The moon is almost full and it has been difficult closing in on pigs all night. As I finally set up and shoot, I stand under 100 yards from my target. I get a couple of shots off, unconfident that I hit anything. Regardless, it was still a good, quick hunt.
The next day a couple of cool events happened. The kettle of vultures to the east of the house led to the discovery of two bonus pigs. My oldest daughter, “J”, developed an obsession with driving the Kyoti. As she took her siblings to look at the dead pigs, she found the dead coyote from last night also. Once she stopped with her Mario Andretti impersonation, she asked me the question… “Daddy, can I come hunting with you tonight?” YES!!!
Like the night before, we set a two-hour time limit. The night starts with a bang and I get two pigs in our first field. She didn’t have a good view of the first kills but we would run into more pigs shortly. The next sounder we found was in the middle of a wheat field behind her great grandmother’s house. It was the most erratic sounder of pigs I have seen. They were zigging, zagging, and walking in circles. Since they were unpredictable, it was almost impossible to get a good line on them. I settled for killing the biggest pig in the sounder. My daughter used my Pulsar Trail XP50 as a spotter and watched the hunt. I got back to the truck and asked her what she thought about it. All she said was, “That was pretty cool Dad.”
Since I fired several shots at this sounder, I was certain that the field would be empty. As we turned onto the road three-quarters of a mile from where I just shot, J asked me if she should scan. In all my wisdom, I told her no because the pigs in this field probably left when they heard the gunfire.
Almost as soon as the words left my mouth, she informed me that there were two pigs outside of her window. She didn’t need the thermal because she could see them with her eyes. I parked the truck, jumped out, and put the reticle of the AGM Secutor on the first boar and squeezed that 3lb trigger. Only 30 yards away, that second boar had taken off running and I hit him twice before he went down. It was a good lesson for everyone to ABC (Always Be Checking) for pigs. As the night continued, we had the same results as the previous night, nine dead pigs, and one dead coyote.
What a great hunt with a great pistol! I was able to put down some pigs, protect the kittens from coyotes, and create some memories with my oldest daughter. This pistol did great on hogs and coyotes and it would also do great in a deer stand. Suffice it to say, if you’re on the fence about getting an AR pistol, I’d highly recommend a 6.5 Grendel Highlander from Alexander Arms.