The state of Israel was established in May of 1948. The years since Israeli independence have been marked by conflict with neighboring Arab states as well as the Palestinian-Arabs. Though there have been many negotiations and peace talks, seems that Israel appears to be in a constant state of conflict. They have survived under difficult circumstances and the country seems to have prospered despite war, religious conflict, boycotts, mass immigration and terror attacks. Because of these conflicts, Israel has produced several well thought out firearms and tons of accessories that are on the cutting edge. This has been based more on need than just to make a profit in the weapons market. Now the Israelis have come up with a firearm accessory that solves an age-old problem: how to hit long range targets with a handgun.
Handguns of today are extremely accurate. In fact they are capable of far better accuracy than most shooters are able to achieve. The problem is not the gun itself but holding it steady enough to make a shot at 100 yards or beyond. This is now not only possible but can be done with relative ease. The Israeli produced, EMA Tactical RONI is not a firearm but rather an accessory that turns a handgun into a deadly long range carbine.
The RONI is an innovative chassis that a handgun fits into. It gives the handgun a telescoping shoulder stock, an extended sight plane and a foregrip. This all adds up to a lightweight pistol caliber carbine with extended hit capability. Many think you can’t put a stock on a handgun, but it can be done as long as it is done the right way. The “right way” involves registering the host handgun as an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle). This is done by filling out an ATF form 1, sending it to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and waiting for it to be approved and sent back. The key words here are “waiting for the approval to be sent back.” A few words of caution here. Do not put the RONI on your handgun or even have it in your possession until the paper work is approved. This constitutes a felony and could very well buy you a hefty fine as well as some jail time.
The RONI is a clamshell device that is made from polymer and aluminum with a weight of just 3.26 pounds without the handgun. It features a five position telescoping stock with an adjustable cheek piece, a flat-top Picatinny rail across the top and short rails on the bottom and both sides. The top rail is a generous 9.5 inches long with room for sights, optics or a combination of optics and night vision. The side rails are positioned just right for using the off-hand thumb to activate a light or laser. It also is equipped with an extra magazine holder. The RONI comes with no sights but they are available as an optional accessory. As SAR received one of the first RONI’s available for testing, the optional sights were not yet available so a set of the excellent MagPul MBUS (MagPul Back-Up Sights) were installed. These low-cost sights are color injection molded from a high strength polymer. The front and rear sight both fold into a very low profile and snap into an upright position with a touch to their spring loaded release levers. The MagPul MBUS are fully adjustable and fit all 1913 Picatinny rails. Although designed for the AR-15/M16 family of rifles, they worked perfectly on the RONI. Another option that is available is a folding foregrip. In the author’s opinion the folding foregrip is a must as it allows for a solid forward holding point, folds cleanly out of the way and can be used in either the folded or extended position. A brass catcher is also offered as an accessory but was not yet available when this article went to press.
The RONI has a hinge point at the bottom and can be opened up to allow the insertion of the handgun. It is then hinged closed and held that way by sliding front and rear caps that lock it shut. The handgun can be installed or removed in less than 6 seconds. The handgun is locked firmly in place with absolutely no movement. This is important as it is the main factor in the amazing accuracy of the RONI. This accuracy is also repeatable. You can remove the gun and reinstall it with no loss of accuracy. The RONI we received for testing was for a Glock but other models will be available in the coming months. These will include variants for the Beretta 92, Beretta PX4 Storm, Para-Ordnance P16-P18, Jericho, Springfield XD, SIG-Sauer, H&K USP, S&W M&P, FN 5.7 and Glock 21. There also might be other models for other popular handguns. The Glock model received for testing will fit models 17, 18, 19, 22, 31, 32, 34 and 35. Putting the handgun into the RONI requires no disassembly of the host gun; it is just a simple drop-in installation.
Our testing was done with a Glock 17 that was previously registered as an SBR. The gun was a Generation 3 Glock and fit perfectly into the RONI. Installation the first time took considerably longer than the advertised times but once it was done; successive installations were done in the advertised 6 seconds. To install the gun the RONI is first hinged open, then a two-sided, polymer charging handle is slipped onto the rear of the handgun’s slide. This is merely a slip fit. The handgun is then inserted into the RONI and its two halves are hinged back together. The sliding front and rear end caps are slid back into place and locked with 2 HK style push pins. The push pins are held captive so there is no worry about losing or misplacing them. Once the front and rear end caps are locked into place the RONI is ready to use. A recessed push button on the top of the buttpad is used to extend or retract the telescoping stock. The stock is skeletonized and holds a spare magazine positioned right below the shooters cheek. This position is the ideal place for accessing the spare magazine for rapid mag changes. The holder has a release lever that holds the magazine in place but it is not needed to release the magazine. To release the magazine you merely grab and pull. With the stock collapsed the overall length is just 19 inches. Extending the stock takes it out to 22.25 inches. There are also four sling swivel points on the RONI allowing it to be carried in a variety of ways to suit the individual shooter.
One other feature of the RONI that is worth mention is a built-in safety. This is especially handy for a Glock that relies on its safe-action trigger as its safety. The RONI’s safety is merely two ambidextrous rotating tabs that can be swung into place to block the shooters finger from reaching the gun’s trigger. It is simple, fast and best of all it works. The RONI has what EMA terms a barrel shroud. This shroud is made from aluminum and surrounds the muzzle of the pistol. It has three forward canted slots that resemble a compensator. This shroud fits on the inside of the front of the RONI and actually protects the polymer from muzzle blast. The shroud is adjustable front to back in two different positions. This allows the RONI to accommodate both the full size Glock as well as the compact model of the same gun. The shroud is also completely removable which allows the use of any suppressor up to 35.5 mm diameter. We installed a Lone Wolf Distributors threaded barrel on the test gun. These match grade barrels are pre-fit, ready to use and drop right in. They are more accurate with tighter tolerances than original Glock barrels. An added advantage of the Lone Wolf barrel is that you can use lead, plated or jacketed bullets. Along with the threaded barrel we used an AWC Titanium Abraxas suppressor. As the Abraxas is made of Titanium and is very small, it requires no recoil device to allow the host handgun to cycle reliably. The Abraxas is an exceedingly effective 9mm pistol suppressor in a size that is smaller than a lot of .22 suppressors. It weights just 3.3 ounces, with a diameter of .98 inches and a length of 5.7 inches. It proves that good things do come in small packages.
Testing of the RONI was done at 25, 50 and 100 yards. An electronic optic was chosen to get the most out of the pistol/carbine yet maintain the overall quickness. The optic chosen was the new L3 EOTech EXPS3. This tiny sight is extremely fast but also has a 1 MOA red dot for enhanced accuracy. The circle dot reticle is very fast on target and the overall length of the sight saves valuable rail space for back-up iron sights or night vision. The EXPS3 runs on one transverse mounted 123 battery and has its control buttons mounted on the side instead of on the rear. Battery life is over 600 hours depending on the brightness setting and the sight features 30 settings with 10 for night vision use.
The gun was initially sighted in at 25 yards and then the rest of the testing was done at 50 and 100 yards. A variety of ammunition was used including 115 grain FMJ, 115 grain Winchester Silvertip, 124 grain FMJ, 124 grain hollow point, 147 grain FMJ, 147 grain Hydro Shock and some Samson 158 grain subsonic. Shooting was done from a rest. Twenty five yard groups looked like large ragged holes. Groups fired from 50 yards were very surprising. Most 5-shot groups could be covered with the palm of your hand and a couple shot with the Winchester Silvertips measured just over three inches. Remember this is 50 yards with a handgun. At the 100 yard range, 5 shots could be covered with a dinner plate. Head shots on a milpark target at 100 yards were made routinely. In fact, one 6-shot group fired at 100 yards measured less than 6 inches. These groups were all fired with the Lone Wolf threaded barrel installed on the gun but no suppressor. Adding the suppressor did not change the group size worth mentioning. But the RONI with a suppressor is nothing if it is not cool. Talk about the ultimate close-quarter entry weapon.
The EMA Tactical RONI is not for everybody. It is a pricey weapon. By the time you figure the cost of a handgun, SBR registration tax, the RONI itself and optics; you are looking at around the $1,500 figure. But for operators that have a need to go from a short range handgun to a long range carbine in under 10 seconds it is the perfect weapon.
1208 Branagan Drive
Tullytown, AP 19007
Phone: (215) 949-9944
Fax: (215) 949-9191
1201 East Ellsworth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Phone: (734) 741-8868
Fax: (734) 741-8221
AWC Systems Technology
1515 West Deer Valley Road, Suite A-105
Phoenix, AZ 85027
Phone: (623) 780-1050
Fax: (623) 780-2967
Lone Wolf Distributors, Inc.
57 Shepard Road
P.O. Box 3549
Oldtown, ID 83822
Phone: (208) 437-0612
Fax: (208) 437-1098
MagPul Industries Corp.
P.O. Box 17697
Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: (303) 828-3460
Fax: (303) 828-3469
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V14N3 (December 2010)|