By Miguel C. Gil
The pistol-to-carbine conversion chassis was a novel concept that excited the Filipino shooting community from the very start.
Being able to transform the highly popular Glock pistol into something that looks and feels like a submachine gun was a great novelty. In a country of fickle gun laws and where the private purchase of military-type carbines is discouraged with heavy licensing fees—these carbine conversion accessories proved especially appealing.
We sometimes wonder whether the interest in these accessories stem from a true appreciation of their real-world applications or if this is just the “dress up mentality” at work? Still, the potential advantages they bring to the table cannot be understated!
The Israel-made RONI Pistol Carbine Conversion is perhaps the most popular product in this genre. While similar products are also available, this product seems to have captured a significant portion of the local market. So much so that pistol-to-carbine conversions have almost become generically known as RONIs!
The RONI is manufactured by CAA Tactical, a 10-year old company based in the industrial city of Ashdod, located some 70 km away from Jerusalem. In its 2013 catalogue, CAA emphasizes that its products are not mere “accessories” but rather they are “upgrades.”
In the copy of CAA’s latest catalogue graciously E-mailed to this writer by marketing manager Shahar Dagan, it is stated that installation of the RONI unit takes no more than 5-seconds. In our own experience, installing the product for the first time takes appreciably more than that. This is because some adjustments have to be made to allow for the different slide length of a given Glock model as well for attaching the cocking handle to the rear of the slide.
Once these preliminary adjustments have been made, however, attachment and removal of the RONI unit can be accomplished with little fuss. One way to describe it is that your pistol is “sandwiched” into the RONI—which hinges open and shut like a clam. And unlike competitive products that completely substitute the slide assembly, there is no down time after removal. Your pistol remains fully operational the second it is separated from the chassis.
Suffice is to say that installing the RONI requires no tools and can easily be done at the user level.
Only Skin Deep?
Many have shunned the pistol-to-carbine chassis concept as expensive gimmicks that appeal largely to the tactically ignorant. Their argument is that these attachments really do nothing to enhance your pistol’s ballistic performance. They are downplayed as mere aesthetic enhancements that serve only to make your sidearm look more menacing.
We are in no way a tactical expert… but we have become convinced that products such as the RONI have their place in the defensive battery. While it’s true that they don’t improve the pistol’s ballistics, they do greatly enhance the shooter’s ability to control the gun. This is because the adjustable stock, fore grip and the option of adding optics all work together to help you shoot your gun more accurately and rapidly.
You are, therefore, able to consistently hit targets further and faster with that same pistol.
Home Defense Applications
We have come to appreciate the RONI’s home defense applications after our modest hands on time with a so fitted Glock 17.
With its short overall length, the RONI-Glock combo maneuvers easily in and out of doors as well as in narrow hallways. With the stock set to the user appropriate length-of-pull and with the support hand firmly around the fore grip, the gun is instantly ready for action and is nearly impervious to gun snatching. The addition of Glock’s 33-round magazine gives an added measure of confidence to the home defender… even while the likelihood of firing that many rounds in a home defense scenario is statistically improbable.
Most intruders will surely flee immediately upon catching a glimpse of its silhouette, which is somewhat reminiscent of the famed Uzi submachine gun! Psychological deterrence can go a long way in preventing a shootout! This mean look comes at the price of added bulk and weight… which fortunately is not an issue for a house gun.
Civilian users should first check local gun laws before attempting to purchase the RONI. In the United States, for example, this product will transform a perfectly legal pistol into a short barrelled rifle (SBR) and would therefore put it out-of-bounds for civilians who do not possess the proper licenses. In the Philippines, however, the law treats the RONI and similar products as mere gun accessories and there are no legal impediments to civilian purchase.
The popularity of Glocks among civilians and uniformed men alike means that there is a potentially big market for the RONI. While CAA also manufactures RONIs for other pistols, it is most identified with Glocks in the Philippine market. The only hindrance for many is the fact that the RONI costs between Php 27,000 to Php 37,000 (depending on color) which places it in the same price range as the pistol for which it was designed!
Full Auto Option
Many RONI users undoubtedly purchased it in tandem with the FSSG or a similar full auto conversion kit. After all, the allure of the “machine pistol” dates back to the heyday of the Ingram MAC-10 some decades ago!
We do not discount the potential advantages of full automatic fire in close quarter engagements. However, we still insist that enhanced controllability as well as the option of attaching lights, lasers and optics makes having the RONI worthwhile—with or without full auto capability.
It is also worth noting that even the supposedly indestructible Glock will wear out quickly with sustained full auto fire, based on samples we have examined in the past. The wear and tear will supposedly manifest itself by eating up the part of the polymer frame underneath the recoil spring.
Again, check your local legislation. Current Philippine gun laws state that civilians cannot own or possess fully automatic weapons unless they have “special” permits and licenses. This puts them out-of-bounds for those who are not well-connected or those without deep pockets!
Most legally armed private citizens who get a hankering for the RONI will have to get used to it in semi auto mode. This is no big loss for the home defender because rapid fire may actually do more harm than good in close encounters of the residential kind!