As CMMG passes 16 years in the firearms industry, it’s clear that their company has seen its share of ups and downs in the market. Between the panic buying days of 2008 to the easy-going “salad days” of 2018, much has changed. So too the company has changed over the years, but only for the better. Starting as a company that wanted to produce “a quality AR rifle that can be afforded by everyone”, to a company offering NFA variants and more than 9 difference chambering options. When SHOT show rolls around, CMMG is always one of the best booths to stop in and shoot at during range day.
So when the Banshee line-up launched, I wanted to get hands-on ASAP. The Banshee is described by CMMG as “…the featherweight of our lineup. With variants chambered in .22LR, 9mm, 45ACP, and .300BLK, these little guys can be deceiving. Its design gives you the firepower you need in a compact and lightweight platform. From plinking at the range with friends to competition shooting to serious personal protection. The Banshee has you covered.”.
The Banshee lineup is said to have all these features common to them:
-The shortest barrels in their caliber
-Tailhook MOD 2 Pistol Brace
-Premiere Cerakote finish standard
-Ambi Charging Handle
-Ambi Sling plate
-Magpul MOE Pistol Grip
This is with exception to the short barreled rifle (SBR) versions, which come equipped with CMMG’s innovative Ripstock. My test and evaluation gun came in pistol format, as to avoid waiting for the ATF to process NFA paperwork.
- 8″ barrel, 1/7 twist. Made from 4140 CM steel.
- .750″ SLR adjustable gas block
- CMMG RML7 handguard
- Magpul MOE Pistol Grip, Tailhook MOD 2 Pistol Brace, Ambi Sling Plate, Selector, and Charging Handle.
- CMMG Single Stage Mil-Spec style trigger
All told, the Banshee in this configuration comes in at just over 5 pounds, a pretty nice little package. It has paired well with red dots (Vortex UH-1, Aimpoint T-2) as well as optics with some magnification (Trijicon ACOG 4x). It’s as well balanced as it is light.
When it comes to accuracy, the Banshee does well. While many of the groups from supersonic rounds ranging 110gr-120gr all came in around the same size (2″-3″ groups at 50 yards, with either a Vortex UH-1 holosight or a Leupold LRT 4.5-16x), the subsonic rounds were a mix. The Banshee didn’t agree with the Fiocchi 220gr sub, but WOW did it like the Federal American Eagle round. Best 5-round group of American Eagle… .875″. Worst? 1.3″, which includes a called flyer.
The Banshee falls into that sweet spot between entry gun and premium package. That’s a tough place to live though, as you’ve started the upgrade process but have to make concessions and compromises. I feel like CMMG has done a good job here, giving the Banshee a great place to start and setting it up to grow with ease.
The ambi charging handle is a smooth operator and will be welcome on any AR of mine. The SLR adjustable gas block is one of the better blocks on the market, giving the Banshee excellent tunability if you’re running suppressed. The CMMG trigger is standard fare, familiar to any who’ve spent time on a mil-spec trigger. While there’s room to improve there, a Geiselle or CMC trigger isn’t a necessity out of the box and keeps costs appropriate.
I like CMMG’s Banshee. It’s a good smash up of pistol-caliber-carbine-meets-PDW. Good features, varied options and a price that won’t break the bank. From .22lr to .300 Blackout, the Banshee is a solid lead-slinger.