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Turning the Ruger LC Charger into a Poor Man’s MP7

Maggie Peterson lived in a state of perpetual simmering chaos. The kids’ soccer practice, volunteering at the food pantry, Pilates, and a thousand other nagging little things reliably consumed her days. This particular Thursday afternoon she carefully guided her minivan through labyrinthine alleyways looking for a place to park near the homeless shelter where she gave of her time.

Ruger LC Charger Build – HK MP7 Style

There were four of them–shifty, unkempt, and clearly up to no good. They appeared suddenly as though out of nowhere and moved like pack hunters. Before Maggie could navigate back to the street, they had her vehicle surrounded. One thug suddenly produced a baseball bat and used it to smash one of her tail lights. Then the obvious leader stepped in front of her grill and smiled as he lifted his shirt, exposing the butt of a big silver revolver tucked into his low-riding trousers. Maggie reassured her children, said a little prayer, cracked the door, and stepped out into the alleyway.

The thug’s smile melted immediately as the diminutive Mrs. Peterson snapped the stock in place on her Ruger LC Charger 5.7 short-barreled carbine and leveled it at his head. Without a word, all four miscreants suddenly evaporated into the city. Maggie sighed. Replacing the tail light cover would be a good homeschool project with the kids. The petite woman shook her head and stowed the gun before finding a better place to park. 

A bit of fiction to be sure, but one that perfectly illustrates the defensive utility of the short-barreled pistol caliber carbine.

Inspiration

The Heckler and Koch MP7 submachine gun is arguably the sexiest firearm ever contrived by man. Featuring rakish, compact lines, advanced materials science, and an exotic 4.6x30mm chambering, the MP7 represents the current state of the art in close quarters combat weapons. The MP7 is rumored to be a favorite of America’s vaunted Special Mission Units. It is also unobtainable by normal civilians in America.

That’s not altogether true. The gun-bodging wizards at Tommy Built Tactical are rumored to be gearing up to offer a domestically-produced semi-auto version of the MP7. However, you can be assured that this gun will cost more than a kidney transplant and remain as elusive as an albino yeti. That and it isn’t like you can pick up 4.7x30mm ammo at your local Walmart. What’s a brother to do?

I would assert that by starting with the superb Ruger LC Charger 5.7 and doing a little online shopping you can craft a killer facsimile of the HK MP7 without cashing in your kid’s college fund to get there. The end result will require a transfer tax and a little paperwork, but it shoots commonly available ammo and is just sexy sweet. Here’s how we skinned that cat.

Ruger LC Charger SBR with an HK MP7

Source Material

The Ruger LC Charger 5.7 is a hybrid aluminum/polymer big-boned handgun that feeds 5.7x28mm ammunition from a flush-fitting 20-round box magazine. The LC Charger 5.7 sports a full-length Picatinny rail up top for optics and ample M-LOK real estate. The muzzle is threaded 1/2×28, and the thumb safety and magazine release are bilateral and intuitive. There is a blade safety built into the trigger face, and the side-mounted non-reciprocating charging handle is readily reversible. 

Now that’s all pretty cool. However, out of the box you just end up with a bulky 16-inch handgun that weighs more than four pounds. With an MSRP of $999, there’s not a great deal the LC Charger will do that the Ruger-5.7 pistol won’t do better, faster, cheaper, and smaller. Both guns share a common chambering and magazine. However, what really transforms the LC Charger 5.7 is the BATF Form 1.

The Form 1 is the application to create a National Firearms Act weapon as an individual. The e-Form version is available online and is fairly onerous. However, it remains well within the capabilities of anyone with even rudimentary computer skills and a little patience. The making tax is $200. While that’s not chicken feed, inflation has taken a lot of the teeth out of it. Additionally, where previously processing time flirted with a year, I have recently heard of some lucky folks having theirs turned around in a week. Once you have the approved form in hand it is time to get busy.

Ruger LC Charger SBR folded

Accessorizing

The near end of the LC Charger 5.7 features a standard stubby bit of Picatinny rail. There are scads of adaptors that will allow you to mount up your favorite M-4 stock in this manner. However, these stocks, while cheap, are all bulky and awkward. 

Ruger offers a rifle version of this weapon called the LC Carbine that features a nifty side-folding collapsible stock and long barrel. However, this stock is a wee bit bulky. As near as I can tell, it is also not sold separately. I found the answer indirectly from SIG.

SIG Sauer produces a minimalist side-folding aluminum billet stock originally intended to fit their Rattler micro-carbine. These stocks are available, but they are expensive (like $250). I found an aluminum billet clone on a website hailing from Taiwan called Taiwangun.com at a fraction of that price. Shipping can be attention-getting, but the stock is otherwise identical to the factory original and it only costs fifty bucks. I picked out three different buttstocks for three different projects and saved a bundle on shipping. Whether you ship one or three, the freight cost appears to be the same.

I finished the gun out with a nice red dot optic, an ergonomic Magpul foregrip, and a Streamlight TLR-8G combination light and laser. As the gun is a Ruger, the design, materials science, and overall build quality are naturally superb. It’s not exactly an HK MP7, but it does essentially the same thing. It is also accessible by us mere mortals and shoots ammo you can source at your local gun emporium.

Ruger LC Charger in 5.7.

Trigger Time

So, how does she run? Oh my. Be still my heart…

The minimalist side-folding stock tucks out of the way when not in use yet provides a stable shooting platform when extended. The rig is undeniably short, but physics is physics. If you want something more civilized and comfortable it is going to be bulky.

Recoil is a legitimate joke. I mounted up a SilencerCo Omega 36M sound suppressor and suddenly felt like an action movie star. The 5.7 round is typically supersonic. That means a sonic crack. However, the superb SilencerCo can excises most of that chaos.

Double taps flow forth in the manner of a .22 rimfire. However, the centerfire chambering is markedly more reliable than any .22 while hitting hard downrange. Magazines are easy to load, and 20 rounds last quite a while. Mags drop free readily yet still include a discreet shelf to enhance purchase in the unlikely event things get sticky. The controls are intuitive and positive.

Popping steel targets with this sound-suppressed DIY 5.7 carbine will reliably cure what ails you. The gun hits hard enough for effective home defense yet tucks into confined spaces like a souped-up handgun. It is, however, so much more than that.

At typical across-the-room ranges, the LC Charger 5.7 SBR prints nickel-sized groups so long as I did my part. These zippy little high-velocity rounds shoot like a laser. Given a limitless supply of ammunition, I could shoot this thing until I starved to death and remain quite happy doing it.

Folding stock for the DIY Ruger LC Charger build.

Ruminations

So what’s it really good for? Don’t know, don’t much care. I can think of nothing better if the opossums join forces with raccoons and suddenly make their play for world domination. Some might poo-poo the 5.7x28mm round as an inadequate defensive tool, but I’d be willing to bet those skeptics have never actually been shot with one, much less twenty in rapid succession.

Considering the cost of accessories, the tricked out LC Charger 5.7 SBR is hardly cheap…but it isn’t federal budget deficit expensive, either. The paperwork takes a little patience, but the end result was worth it. The LC Charger 5.7 SBR would tuck away discreetly in a book bag and offer prodigious short- to mid-range firepower for the concerned citizen living responsibility. It would also be good company for the typical self-reliant soccer mom who wanders out where the Wild Things Roam. It’s the poor man’s MP7.

Reversible charging handle on the Ruger LC Charger.

Build Parts

Ruger LC Charger Specifications

  • Type: Direct Blowback Semi-Automatic
  • Caliber: 5.7x28mm
  • Barrel: 10.3 inches
  • Overall Length: 17 inches Retracted; 25 inches Extended
  • Weight: 5.3 pounds
  • Finish: Black Anodized
  • Sights: Flip Rear Peep/Front Post/Electro-Optic
  • MSRP (Gun Only): $999
Accuracy results were solid with the LC Charger build.

Ruger LC Charger SBR Performance

Load Group Size (inches) Velocity (fps)
Federal 40-grain FMJ 0.7 2,039
Fiocchi 40-grain FMJ 0.6 2,026
FN 40-grain FMJ 0.5 2,076
Group Size is the best four of five shots fired from a sandbag rest at 25 meters measured center-to-center. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured by a Garmin Xero C1 chronograph.

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