CMMG Banshee 9mm AR Pistol, by Pat Cascio

Today, we are taking an exclusive look at the all-new CMMG “Banshee” 9mm pistol. Some might even call it a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW). SurvivalBlog was the first to receive this new pistol, and it has been a confidential project.

Hush-Hush Five-Week Test

We conducted a five-week test on this new AR 9mm pistol. I had originally planned on running about 500 rounds of 9mm ammo through the Banshee, which is a more than a fair test. However, I had so many volunteer testers helping me that we ran more than 1,500 rounds of ammo through this new AR pistol. It was difficult keeping this project hush-hush, and I had to keep the name of the gun and company covered over with duct tape, so no one knew what they were shooting.

Quick Specs on 9mm Banshee Pistol

Some quick specs on the 9mm Banshee pistol are in order, then we’ll get into the meat of this outstanding firearm. The Banshee has a 5-inch barrel, and the muzzle is threaded at ½-28 for a 9mm flash suppressor or registered sound suppressor (“silencer”). The handguard is actually made by CMMG, as is most of the parts. Furniture consists of a MagPul MOE pistol grip, and a Tailhook Mod 2 brace, an ambi sling plate, ambi safety, and a very unique ambi charging handle. The upper and lower receivers are Billet 7075-T6 forged aluminum, and the trigger is a CMMG single stage mil-spec design. CMMG was very good at listening to folks, and this Banshee takes any double-column Glock 9mm magazines. It comes with one 33-rd mag. Weight of the gun is 4.6 lbs, but it feels lighter. Overall length is 20 inches with the stock closed and 23 inches opened.


The Banshee comes standard with CMMGs Premier Cerokote finish, and it can be had in flat dark earth, midnight bronze, burnt bronze, titanium, sniper gray, bazooka green, slate, and gun metal gray. Our sample was in bazooka green, off-set with various other parts that are black, making it very handsome.

How it Differs From Other AR Pistols

So, how does the Banshee differ from many other AR pistols. Well, to start with, the lower receiver isn’t a modified .223/5.56 receiver. Instead, it was designed from the ground up to take 9mm (or other handgun caliber) magazines, so there isn’t any type of adapter to keeps the mag locked in the mag well. That’s very nice. There is also an over-sized mag release that is hard to miss, even in a speed reload.

Radial Delayed Blowback Operating System

Without giving away any secrets to the Banshee’s success, here is what CMMG has to say about their Radial Delayed Blowback operating system… “The 9mm and .45 ACP Banshee’s feed from factory Glock magazines and utilize CMMGs patent pending Radial Delayed Blowback operating system. The benefit of this system is the delayed blowback design, that allows CMMG to use a lighter buffer and carrier than the typical straight blowback design. This reduction in reciprocating mass ensures that both the 9mm and .45 ACP version of the Banshee are easily controllable.”

Light Recoil

To be sure, everyone who tested the Banshee commented on the very light recoil of the 9mm pistol. It was extremely controllable under rapid-fire.

No Sights

The Banshee comes with no sights, so you can mount either an electronic red dot sight or put on a set of AR flip-up/fold-down sights of your liking. I would have liked CMMG to include just an inexpensive set of plastic AR sights, so the user can take the Banshee right out of the box and started shooting it. Still, I believe most users will pick whatever sights they like and go with them. I added an inexpensive, no-name micro green dot sight, and it has worked great.

Charging Handle and Loaded Round Forward Assist

The charging handle is ambidextrous and very easy to retract. We also have a loaded round forward assist, which I never use on any AR. If a round won’t chamber, there is a reason for it. Trying to force the round into the chamber will only lead to more problems, in my humble opinion.


My one peeve is the handguard in that it has a small “lip” that turns downward so your hand won’t go in front of the barrel, blowing a finger or hand. I would personally like to see this lip at least a half inch longer to prevent your hand/fingers from going in front of the barrel. Under rapid-fire and/or stress, I can see it happening. I have already voiced this concern to CMMG.

Black Hill Ammunition for Testing

The very nice folks at Black Hills Ammunition  provided me with 500 rounds of brand new 9mm FMJ ammo for my initial testing. However, many shooters provided their own ammo of all types for shooting, and the gun never stuttered. During my very first mag of ammo, the last round in the mag popped out of the mag, tying up the Banshee. This was a mag related malfunction; however, during all the rest of the testing, the magazine never duplicated that problem.

Arm Brace and Shouldered Use

I really liked the Gear Head Works arm brace, which was never once used as such. Instead the Banshee was shouldered by all testers. This is allowed by BATF now. In the past, it was very confusing rulings by BATF as to if you could or couldn’t shoulder a “pistol” with a “shoulder” stock on it.

Different Types of Glock 9mm Mags

The Banshee was tested with all different types of Glock 9mm mags, and they all worked fine. I even used some S. Korean 33-rd Glock 9mm mags, and they worked without any problems. However, CMMG recommends using genuine Glock mags for the best performance.


Of course, everyone wants to know about accuracy in a gun article, and the Banshee is more than accurate when shouldered. It provides a very solid hold on the pistol. If I did my share at 25 yards, I could easily get 1.5-inch groups with all ammo, which is outstanding, no matter how you look at it.

There was no velocity gains, because of the short 5-inch barrel, unlike many submachine guns that have longer barrels. However, I could easily pick out some rocks that were about 10 inches in size at 100 yards and hit them consistently with the Banshee, if I did my part. So, bad guys beware. Even though this is a handgun, it will sure take care of you out to 100 yards and beyond.

Perked Along Through 1,500 Rounds of Testing

When I first took the Banshee home from my local gun shop, and I had to hurry it out the door because some customers spotted it and the “can I see that” comments started. Again, this was a hush-hush project and CMMG didn’t want anyone knowing about this handgun until today – April 13th – the day they are releasing it to the public. Once home, I broke the Banshee down to inspect and lube it. Even during all the testing, once again with about 1,500 rounds, the gun was never cleaned or lubed, and it just perked along without any problems.

Picatinny Rails

The flat top Picatinny rail runs the full length of the upper receiver and onto the handgun. So, you can easily place a dot sight anywhere along this length, or as already mentioned you can add some AR flip-up/fold-down sights to use as back-up to an electronic dot sight. My recommendation is to add back-up sights to any electronic sight you might install on this neat little gun.

Workmanship and Trigger

This isn’t the first CMMG AR I’ve tested and evaluated, and like the others this is one fine AR with the workmanship being second to none. Everything is fitted perfectly. The single-stage trigger broke at 4.5 lbs for me, and it was crisp, too.

The second person to test-fire the Banshee was my wife. When she blasted through the first 33-rd mag of ammo, she turned with “that” smile. I knew she loved it when she asked, “Do we have any more ammo?” I responded, “Yes dear, all you want.”

Handgun, Not Short Barreled Rifle

With the current political climate that is damning firearms for mass shootings, instead of putting the blame where it belongs– on the shooters– now is the perfect time to get that new AR. And if you want something a little bit different, the Banshee might just be what you’re looking for. It makes a wonderful house gun for defending against bad actors. I can also see law enforcement SWAT teams going to this gun. One nice thing is that this is considered by BATF as a “handgun” and not a short barreled rifle, so there is no extra red tape involved in purchasing the Banshee in more states.

Keep in mind, as I stated at the start of this piece, the Banshee is not a modified AR, it is an entirely new AR pistol, designed specifically to take handgun calibers. This pistol is specifically designed to handle handgun calibers. Remember this!

More on the Radial Delayed Blowback Operating System

Also, I wanted to touch a little more on the Radial Delayed Blowback operating system. If you’ll look closely at the pic of the bolt/bolt carrier from the Banshee, you will see that the locking lugs on the bolt are tapered and the bolt is also spring-loaded. The system appears to be so simple. It’s one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” things, so I could get rich. I’m told that a lot of R&D went into the Radial Delayed Blowback operating system. I believe it, too.

MagPump Mag Loader

Anyone who has loaded the 33-rd Glock 9mm magazines will know what I’m talking about here. These mags are tough to load, and the closer you get to filling the mag up, the harder it is to get those last few rounds in there. Take a look at the MagPump magazine loader. It can be purchased from our friends at US Tactical Supply. If you plan on doing a lot of shooting, and you will with the Banshee, the MagPump mag loader is a very smart investment, if you ask me.

Testers Offered to Buy Banshee on the Spot

Many of my volunteer testers, of course, offered to buy the Banshee on the spot from me. I told them it’s not for sale, sorry! They didn’t care what company name was stamped on the pistol; they just wanted it. I informed them all that they could get full details today, April 13th, on the pistol (Banshee) and order one for themselves.

It is almost always a “fight” when I want to purchase a gun sample. The wife keeps reminding me, “You said that last time…”, when I tell her I just need one more gun. However, this time around, she encouraged me (surprise, surprise) to buy this sample. Needless to say, I want it and, as already mentioned with today’s anti-gun climate, it just seems like a wise thing to do.

Blackhawk Tactical Thigh Pouch

Throw in a Blackhawk Products triple 9mm tactical thigh pouch on your leg. You’ll have the Banshee with one 33-rd mag in the gun slung across your chest with a single point sling, and three more 33-rd mags in the Blackhawk Products mag pouch. With this, you are ready for just about anything.

No Worry About Going Deaf if Fired Indoors

As I’ve mentioned hundreds of times in my articles, quality never comes cheap. You usually get what you pay for. In the case of the CMMG Banshee, this is one sweet-shooting AR 9mm pistol. Also, you don’t have to worry about going deaf if you fire this pistol indoors, as opposed to firing a .223 AR pistol indoors without hearing protection. This is another plus for this neat little gun.

Retail on What’s Going To Be A Hot Seller

Full retail on the CMMG Banshee is $1,499. It’s not inexpensive by any means, but is it worth it? Well, I’m saving up my pennies so I can purchase the sample that was sent to me, and I sure don’t “need” another AR not even an AR pistol. But I want this one. It’s going to be a hot seller, if you ask me.


  1. I’m guessing this is a spin-off of their Guard carbines? I’ve heard mixed reviews on those.
    Also for people In deprived states does it take regular length 10/15/17 rd Glock mags?

    1. I have both 9mm and 45 CMMG GUARD and they have been flawless. Best Pistol Caliber Carbine ever. Simple, lighter and much more affordable than a H&K MP5 with Delayed Roller Lock.

      Yes – Takes Glock 26, 19, 17 and 34 mags.

  2. ” I can also see law enforcement SWAT teams going to this gun”

    Not unless they want a serious reduction in penetrating power. Don’t bad guys wear armor anymore? I remember back to a certain bank robbery in LA that caused police to start carrying ARs in their patrol cars. I don’t think that SWAT is going to give up their SBRs in favor of a 9mm or a .45 unless they’re raiding an old lady over parking tickets.

  3. i have a SIG MPX which i love. I’ve been thinking of adding another similar weapon to the arsenal. My AR pistol just doesn’t do it for me. If there is someone in my group who i need to arm in a hurry and they don’t have much weapon experience, something like this would make a ton of sense.

  4. There are allot of company’s out there that make glock compatible magazine ars. There is also a ton of people that don’t like how the glocks feel in their hands. I would love to see someone make lowers geared to the m&p mags or xd/xdm mags. So far only 1 company makes an ar9 for the m&p and at 1k it’s not an affordable option.

  5. QUOTE: “There is also a ton of people that don’t like how the glocks feel in their hands.”

    Conversely, there are many more “tons of people” that find Glocks to feel just fine. You don’t have to own a Glock to know that Glock mags are reasonably priced, reliable and readily available across the nation.

    QUOTE: “…only 1 company makes an ar9 for the m&p and at 1k it’s not an affordable option.”

    The CMMG Banshee will have a $1500 MSRP. “Pay less, get less” is usually a factual statement.

Comments are closed.