After eight shots at 25 yards, I had a rough zero. Moving to 50 yards, three more bullets grouped
around the bullseye. Finetuning the Aimpoint ACRO’s windage and elevation to be dead-on, I fired another three to confirm my 50-yard zero.
With 6 rounds left in my first magazine through Ruger’s LC Charger 5.7×28, I angled the 10.3-inch barrel towards a 200-yard steel silhouette and nestled into my shooting bag. Pressing cheek against top rail and clamping the handguard with my left hand, I let ’em fly. With each trigger break, a “ting!” floated back to the firing line.
I had no clue where I hit, so I walked downrange. Once there, I found all six of Fiocchi’s 35-grain jacketed frangibles in a hand-size group. At that point, I concluded Ruger’s LC Charger was the ultimate cheek pistol.
Firearm trainer Rhett Neumayer of Demonstrated Concepts has perfected the usage of compact, stockless firearms. He calls them “cheek pistols” because he uses both hands and his cheek as a third point of contact. For aiming, Neumayer uses a tall red dot or 1X prism sight.
It’s an odd way to shoot. The method works but it’s foreign in look and feel, especially for those accustomed to traditional methods of shooting.
Until six months ago, I knew of only two ways to discharge a firearm with any degree of success. One was pistol shooting, which involves one or both hands, and the other was firing a long gun utilizing the shoulder and cheek. Then I stumbled upon Neumayer’s amazing cheek method.
I now consider it the third dimension of shooting. Operating a cheek pistol is like shooting a long gun without a stock, and — like most things — achieving proficiency requires practice. The first step one must take is to select a cheek pistol. There’s not a lot to choose from, because all movement must take place inside the firearm.
KelTec’s CP33 and the AR-15 are the most popular cheek pistols. While those are fine choices ballistically and dimensionally, I wanted something in the middle. After searching for months to no avail, Ruger launched the LC Charger in the zesty 5.7×28 cartridge. This would become my test mule.
Ruger’s 5.7 is the ideal size and configuration for a cheek pistol. At 4 pounds, this blowback-operated firearm is no lightweight. In fact, for a gun that’s only 16 inches in total length, it feels dense. That mass, however, keeps recoil to a minimum, which is important when firing a gun from the cheek.
The LC Charger feeds from 20-round Ruger 5.7 magazines. That’s a lot of firepower. Thanks to its 10.3-inch barrel, this PDW-sized package achieves a significant velocity boost over 5.7 handguns as well.
During testing, Fiocchi’s 35-grain jacketed frangible clocked 2,100 fps. FN’s 40-grain V-MAX was not far behind at 2,080 fps. That’s not 5.56 velocity, but it’s plenty at personal defense distances, and it does so with far less muzzle blast.
Outfitting the Ruger LC Charger for cheek duty is easy. It leaves the factory with a hand stop at the 6 o’clock position on the forend. I moved it to 9 o’clock to protect my left hand from going forward and over the barrel. On the right side of the forend, I mounted a Steamlight ProTac 1L in a Mischief Machine M-LOK mount for low-light use.
Now, the fun stuff. A red dot is ideal for cheek pistols, but keep in mind that AR-height optics are too low for a proper cheekweld. Luckily, the tall AR mount market provides options.
For testing the LC Charger, I mounted Aimpoint’s excellent ACRO P-2 red dot in Reptilia’s 1.93-inch Dot Mount. This combo is the perfect size and height, enabling blazing-fast engagements at close range along with precision out to 200 yards, which is as far as I’ve shot (and where 5.7 bullets run out of steam).
You’ll notice I mention both speed and precision. Both are key when dealing with cheek pistols.