Spirit Guard

By Oleg Volk

CMMG Banshee—Defense Niche Appeal

The CMMG Banshee is the pistol form of the popular Guard carbine. Introduced in 2017, the Guard used radial delayed blowback to lighten the bolt carrier relative to plain blowback designs. The backs of the rotating bolt lugs are angled to match similarly angled cuts in the barrel extension, allowing the bolt to slide out of battery once the pressure has dropped. This blowback delay method is a clever patented variation on the Blish lock of the original Thompson submachine gun. Compared to the gas operation, this design is simpler and less dependent on the load. Banshee uses a standard carbine weight buffer rather than the heavier 9mm buffer.

Made with a 5-inch barrel and a collapsible Tailhook Mod2 collapsible brace, this pistol is only 20 inches long, permitting compact stowage in a backpack or a briefcase. Shipped with a 33-round magazine, it also accepts shorter lower capacity versions for shooting from a bench or when greater concealment is needed. At 4.7 pounds, it’s a pound lighter than an FN P90 and a pound and a half lighter than an HK 9mm PDW. The barrel length is sufficient for getting most of the velocity from the 9x19 cartridge, especially with the heavier subsonic bullets preferred for sound suppressed use.

The barrel is threaded ½-28 for muzzle devices. It comes with a thread protector, but either a sound suppressor or a linear compensator is recommended for noise reduction. Because of the muzzle’s proximity to the shooter’s ears compared to the same-length pistol held in outstretched arms, the report is surprisingly loud. A Kaw Valley Precision linear compensator added an ounce and a half to the weight, two inches to the length but improved shooting comfort considerably, also turning the muzzle flash into a thinner tendril less visible to the shooter.

Felt recoil is very mild. The pistol digested all kinds of ammunition, from superlight ARX to heavy subsonics without a hitch. It fed aggressive SIG SAUER hollow points every bit as well as a practice ball. In sum, I have fired well over 1000 rounds with no cleaning:...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N10 (December 2018)
and was posted online on October 26, 2018


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