Back in February, Tom McHale dropped me an email with a photo of a sexy looking AR pistol from CMMG chambered for .45 ACP asking if I was interested in a review of the gun for Tactical Retailer. He wasn’t allowed to tell me much more other than release of information was embargoed until April 13. Heck yes I was interested.
By pure coincidence, Silencer Shop contacted me a few weeks later about a new CMMG SBR and suppressors and asked if I wanted to try them out. It turns out Tom’s pistol and the SBRs Silencer Shop has are both part of CMMG’s new Banshee line so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to give Tactical Retailer readers the full CMMG trifecta of pistol, SBR and suppressor.
The SBR Silencer Shop sent is the Banshee chambered in .45 ACP, and there isn’t much difference between it and the pistol version that Tom reviews in the adjacent article. Both have 5-inch barrels and use CMMG’s patent pending new Radial Delayed Blowback operating system. This system allows CMMG to use a lighter buffer and carrier than the typical straight blowback design. That reduces the reciprocating mass making the Banshee more controllable.
Another feature of this operating system is that the bolt head is spring-loaded. It’s kind of weird to press it into the bolt carrier only to have it spring back on its own. Like all blowbacks, this system also gets just as dirty with or without suppressor — and it gets very dirty.
Instead of the pistol’s Tailhook arm brace, the Banshee SBR has a unique buttstock aptly named the “Ripstock.” It’s a first from CMMG and incorporates what the company calls FASTBACK Technology. With FASTBACK, you don’t need to depress any lever or latch to release the stock to extend it. Instead, you simply grab the butt and yank. The stock extends and locks.
There’s also an arrangement on the Ripstock called P3 Technology that’s adjustable so that when you do extend the stock, it stops open at the length you want it. P3 consists of a track under the buffer tube with five holes. You thread a supplied Allen head screw into any one of those holes to create a preset length of pull. With FASTBACK and P3, you can keep the Banshee SBR as compact as possible, and instantly “rip” it open to the correct extended length every time.
Another difference between the Banshee pistol and SBR is that the SBR comes equipped with a Magpul MVG foregrip, which you generally can’t add to an AR-type pistol. The addition of this accessory should eliminate the issue Tom discovered about the shooter’s support hand thumb possibly getting forward of the handguard where it’s at risk of muzzle blast or worse.
Finally, with the stock collapsed, the Banshee SBR is actually an inch shorter than the pistol and is only 0.3 pounds heavier.
Like Tom discovered, Banshees are fun to shoot. I topped this one with a Trijicon RMR with 9 MOA dot and at 25 yards easily and consistently shot sub-2-inch groups. Loads included everything from full-power 185-grain hollow points and 230-grain Ball ammunition to 230-grain JHP subsonic. The Banshee ran every load without a single hiccup.
The sample I received had been through the hands of several writers before it got to me and the Action Tuning Kit was missing, so I shot the Banshee full throttle without any of the tuning weights. It’s .45 ACP so we’re not talking a lot of recoil here, though I can see where there could be an argument for using the tuning kit if regularly shooting +P or 450 SMC loads.
This was also an opportunity to try CMMG’s new DefCan suppressor. It’s a full line with suppressors for 7.62, 5.56, 9mm, .45 ACP or Rimfire. The DefCan 45 I received is a full-auto-rated suppressor designed for rifles chambered in .45 ACP, built from 7075 aluminum with a hard coat anodized finish. It’s available with either direct thread or a Bi-Lock, QD spring-loaded bayonet type attachment. CMMG claims 32 dBs of sound reduction.
It does a very good job of suppressing sound. I have a digital sound level meter that measures in comparative units, not decibels, so I can’t give you a reading in actual decibels. I can say the meter indicated that the DefCan 45 reduced the sound of 230-grain Ball ammunition about 30 percent. With the subsonic ammunition, all you hear is the clacking of the action, which in and of itself is loud, but not ear-ringing.
With the suppressor attached, group size remained the same, but point of impact shifted down two inches and left one inch.
Like Tom discovered on the pistol, the Banshee trigger is really good. This one had a smooth, long, soft 6-pound pull that was kind of like a double-action revolver, though with not nearly as much travel distance. The reset is unmistakable.
With the Banshee line, CMMG has done more than simply bob down things and made them work. With its simple yet robust operating system combined with unique features such as the Ripstock all backed by CMMG’s reputation and lifetime quality guarantee, the Banshee will stand out on the rack from other guns in its class.
MkG BANSHEE 45 ACP SBR
Barrel: 5″ MT 4140CM SBN, .45 ACP
Muzzle: Thread protector, threaded .578-28
Hand guard: CMMG RML4
Furniture: Magpul MOE pistol grip, compact receiver extension, Ripstock compact stock, Magpul MVG foregrip, ambidextrous sling plate, ambidextrous selector, ambidextrous charging handle
Receivers: Billet 7075-T6 AL lower, forged 7075-T6 AL upper
Trigger: CMMG single stage Mil-Spec 6 pounds pull
Magazine: Glock .45 ACP 13-round
Weight: 4.9 pounds
Length: 19 inches (stock collapsed)