Yes, blanks won't operate the BCG, not enough back pressure, hence the device on the muzzle. Live rounds work because more powder and the bullet dwell time once it passes the gas port in the barrel. This is why you have to select the correct gas length when building your AR depending on its intended use and barrel length. There are currently four gas lengths: rifle, mid length, carbine and pistol length gas.
Rifle is intended for barrel lengths of 18"+, the port is typically somewhere between 13" and 15" from the chamber depending on brand.
Mid length is for barrels 16" to 18" with the port around 11.5" to 12" from chamber.
Carbine length is for barrels 14" and 16" with the port at about 9.75" to 10" from chamber.
Pistol length is for barrels 10" or shorter with the port between 4" and 7" from chamber depending on the barrel.
The dwell time is the barrel length remaining after the gas port, thus the time the bullet is still in the barrel once it passes the gas port. The longer that is, the more pressure it makes in the gas tube to reliably operate the action.
Pistols can sometimes be problematic, especially for super short barrels (less than 8"). If the systemn isn't getting enough gas, sometimes making the port larger can fix it, or if you reload, using powder that is "more gassy."
One downside of pistol length gas is erosion of the port as it is so close to the chamber, it get hits with a lot of heat and blast.
One other issue with builders is they try to make a stubby pistol that shoots both supersonic and subsonic rounds reliably. It can be done, but such a set up isn't really optimal. If you have enough gas to reliably operate subsonics, it is typically over gassed with supers, which pounds the heck out of the internals. Set it up for supers and it might not reliably cycle subs because it won't get enough gas pressure. The AR gas system is relatively simple and asking it to shoot both types of rounds reliably is asking a lot. I personally prefer to build pistols to specific set ups, for example my 7.5" 300 Blackout is a dedicated suppressed subsonic shooter. Yes, it will shoot supers and cycle, but is way over gassed for that, so I shoot those rarely, if ever.
There are lots of accessories for the AR platform to try to bridge this gap, such as adjustable gas blocks, or adjustable bolt carriers, or different diameter gas tubes. That's fine, and they do work, but they're expensive and add another potential point of failure. For example, adjustable gas blocks erode due to the heat and blast, just like the gas port in the barrel, and eventually the setting is altered as erosion increases. Some, after enough rounds, lock up and can't be adjusted anymore (most use some sort of set screw to change the port size in the block). All of this stuff is, IMHO, fine for a range toy, but if you are building something you want to trust your life to, you want as few failure points as possible and reliable function. My 300 Blk pistol is slightly over gassed using the subs I run in it, but that means I don't have to worry about it short stroking and suffering any other "low gas" issues. It probably has some effect on it's internal parts lifespan, but as is, will be viable probably longer than I'm going to be alive, unless I start pounding out several thousand rounds a week and wear it out. It has no adjustable gas blocks or any other fancy after market doo-dads that aren't necessary.