Ruger PC Carbine: A Nifty 9mm Carbine – It Can Be Yours

Opinion: Tom Mchale reviews the Ruger PC Carbine. We are giving away this PCC with a matching caliber Ruger pistol. Enter here!

Ruger PC Carbine photo right
This souped-up model of the Ruger PC Carbine features a free-floated barrel and M-LOK handguard.

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Ruger PC Carbine is new and improved from the original introduced a few years ago. When it hit the market, the carbine wasn’t the first to marry pistol and rifle caliber and magazine compatibility, but it sure was nifty – not to mention fun. Now, a couple of years into the family tree, you can order two varieties: a standard forend model available in 9mm and .40 S&W and the new free-floated barrel version with M-LOK handguard shown here. The two rifles operate identically with a blowback design and both are takedown models with threaded barrels. More on that later. We’re going to focus on the spiffier M-LOK version as that’s the carbine that one of you will win.

That’s right. Ammoland and Ruger will give away a combo set of this PC Carbine and the Security 9 pistol.

This Ruger PC Carbine model has M-LOK mounting points at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions and plenty of ventilation holes.
This Ruger PC Carbine model has M-LOK mounting points at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions and plenty of ventilation holes.

Ruger PC Carbine: A Quick Tour

The PC Carbine M-LOK model is available in 9mm only (for now) and uses Ruger SR9 magazines. A 17-round mag is included with this rifle. The idea is that you can share not only ammo, but magazines between the carbine and your Ruger handgun. If you’re the winner of this carbine, you’ll also get a Ruger Security 9 pistol which uses the same magazine. If you don’t win the carbine / pistol package and happen to carry a popular Austrian pistol, no worries. The PC Carbine comes with a replaceable magazine well insert that accepts standard Glock 9mm double-stack magazines. That gets particularly interesting if you attach one of the 33 rounders.

This Ruger PC Carbine is a take-down model. Just push that big lever about a quarter of an inch, rotate, and the front end comes off. It takes less than two seconds and requires no tools.
This Ruger PC Carbine is a take-down model. Just push that big lever about a quarter of an inch, rotate, and the front end comes off. It takes less than two seconds and requires no tools.

The magazine compatibility isn’t the only thing that’s flexible about the PC Carbine. The magazine release and bolt charging handle are reversible. Out of the box, the mag release button is on the left and the charging handle on the right. The safety is a cross bolt type that runs through the front of the trigger guard.

If you care, one visual design element of the PC Carbine is that it’s less scary to those with the snowflake gene because it uses a standard rifle-type stock, not one of those super-scary pistol grips. There’s a spacer in the box so you can add to the length of pull if you need. The butt pad is textured rubber so when you lean this against a shooting bench or wall, it won’t fall over. That’s also good for keeping the rifle planted firmly in place in your shoulder pocket.

The PC Carbine comes with steel aperture sights, both mounted on the the forend. The rear is adjustable for windage and elevation.
The PC Carbine comes with steel aperture sights, both mounted on the the forend. The rear is adjustable for windage and elevation.

The included sights are aperture irons. The front is a post protected by steel wings and the rear is an aperture that’s adjustable for both windage and elevation. It’s placed on the rear of the forend so there is never any misalignment when you takedown the carbine – both front and rear sights are on the same hunk of metal. While we’re talking about the forend, that free-floated barrel is housed inside of an M-LOK handguard with mounting points at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. In between those are generous cutouts to reduce weight and provide air flow to the barrel.

Go Ahead, Break it in Half!

The new Ruger PC Carbine shown here is a takedown model. That means it’s designed to be broken in half – on purpose.

The Ruger PC Carbine receiver and barrel lock up tight as a drum but there's a tension wheel adjustment if you want more or less.
The Ruger PC Carbine receiver and barrel lock up tight as a drum but there's a tension wheel adjustment if you want more or less.

The breakdown process could not be easier, and I mean that literally. Under the forend you’ll see a sliding button sitting in a recessed area the size of your finger. Push that button forward about ¼ of an inch and rotate the handguard 1/8th of a turn clockwise (when looking towards the muzzle) and remove the front end. That’s it. No tools or undue force required. When you put it back together, the two halves lock up tight to the point where there is no detectable movement. Should you ever need to adjust the lockup tension, there’s an adjustment ring accessible on the top side.

As the separation point is forward of the rail, none of this breaking and packing interferes with your optic or zero, so knock yourself out. Take it down. Throw it in your backpack or car, and you’ll be good to go when you re-assemble. It’s a brilliant design.

Shooting the PC Carbine

I had a bit of a moral dilemma on how to configure this carbine. Should it have a red dot sight on the receiver rail or a low-magnification scope? Since I couldn’t decide, I tried both on different outings.

The winner default configuration during testing was with this new Crimson Trace CTS-1000 red dot sight. It was crisp and clear and shockingly effective to over 100 yards.
The winner default configuration during testing was with this new Crimson Trace CTS-1000 red dot sight. It was crisp and clear and shockingly effective to over 100 yards.

For the first range trip I mounted the new Crimson Trace CTS-1000 red dot sight. This one can be an “always on” model as it reduces its power level after a few hours of inactivity. It’s got a two-MOA dot, so it’s plenty precise for 9mm carbine distances. At 50 yards, that dot covers just one inch of target. With the exceptionally crisp and clear dot (think models costing twice as much), I did most of the accuracy testing with this configuration. When I shot the same ammo with a magnified scope, there was no detectable difference in group size. That's a testament to the optic quality. The other nifty benefit is that the quick-attach mount of the Crimson Trace CTS-1000 has a see-through hollow base. That allowed me to view the standard aperture sights right under the red dot, so I had a choice on how to shoot – irons or optics. If you want to go old school, there's no need to remove the optic. When I buy one of these carbines, the Crimson Trace CTS-1000 will be key to my permanent configuration.

I got by with a little help from my friends. Even with the 4x magnification offered by the Steiner, I didn't get a noticeable improvement in groups at 50 yards.
I got by with a little help from my friends. Even with the 4x magnification offered by the Steiner, I didn't get noticeable improvement in groups at 50 yards.

For the next trip, I mounted a Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24mm scope. At the lower magnification levels, this scope offered effortless two-eyes open shooting as well, but as a true optic, didn’t offer a uninterrupted field of view that the red dot provided. For a field rifle, I might keep the Steiner in place as the 4x magnification really comes in handy at 50 and 100 yards. For home defense use, the Crimson Trace CTS-1000 wins hands down.

I tested a boatload of 9mm ammo through this PC Carbine, mainly because it’s incredibly fun to shoot. The seven-pound weight combined with 9mm chambering means that there is no appreciable recoil or concussion. This is a carbine that the whole family, even those skittish about big muzzle blast, will enjoy shooting.

I tested the Ruger PC Carbine with a wide variety of ammo. No malfunctions and great overall accuracy results.
I tested the Ruger PC Carbine with a wide variety of ammo. No malfunctions and great overall accuracy results.

I tested velocity of the PC Carbine because I wanted to see how much speed the 16.12-inch barrel would generate over that of the pistol. I’m including the results from the Security 9 pistol so you can see the difference.

Ammunition PC Carbine Velocity (fps) Security 9 Velocity (fps)
Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 grain 1,277.7 1,091.7
Federal HST 9mm 124 grain 1,264.3 1,096.5
Sig Sauer V-Crown 9mm 124 grain 1,323.0 1,132.0
Sig Sauer FMJ 9mm 115 grain 1,309.7 1,106.0
Inceptor ARX 9mm 74 grain 1,660.7 NA
Sig Sauer M17 V-Crown +P 9mm 124 grain 1,257.3 1,142.0
Sig Sauer M17 FMJ +P 9mm 124 grain 1,438.7 1,225.7
Federal Syntech Training Match 9mm 147 grain 1,144.3 969.8
Federal Syntech Defense 9mm 138 grain 1,240.7 1,044.0
Blazer Brass 9mm 147 grain 1,201.3 969.3

So, in round numbers, and depending on the ammo, you’ll get an extra 200 fps or so from the carbine, all else being equal.

The Blazer Brass 147-grain load performed exceptionally well in the PC Carbine.
The Blazer Brass 147-grain load performed exceptionally well in the PC Carbine.

I also tested the Ruger PC Carbine for Accuracy and measured the following five-shot group sizes from 50 yards.

Ammunition Group Size, 50 Yards
Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 grain 1.05”
Federal HST 9mm 124 grain 1.42”
Sig Sauer V-Crown 9mm 124 grain 1.27”
Sig Sauer FMJ 9mm 115 grain 1.81”
Inceptor ARX 9mm 74 grain 0.72”
Sig Sauer M17 V-Crown +P 9mm 124 grain 1.18”
Sig Sauer M17 FMJ +P 9mm 124 grain 1.31”
Federal Syntech Training Match 9mm 147 grain 3.11”
Federal Syntech Defense 9mm 138 grain 2.02”
Blazer Brass 9mm 147 grain 1.05”

 

A Quiet Carbine

The new Ruger PC Carbine comes with a threaded barrel. I’ll have to look it up, but I’m pretty sure that means you have to put a suppressor on it, at least part-time, else you run afoul of the National Firearms Act and risk a penalty of having to surrender all your guns to me.

Even though it adds length and weight, I might have to keep a suppressor on the Ruger PC Carbine. I tested it with this SilencerCo Octane 45.
Even though it adds length and weight, I might have to keep a suppressor on the Ruger PC Carbine. I tested it with this SilencerCo Octane 45.

Anyway, the 1/2×38 threading is standard, so I popped on a SilencerCo Octane 45 silencer, taking care to replace the internal booster spring with a fixed spacer. As this carbine has a fixed barrel, you don’t want to use a suppressor with a booster device else you’ll risk an internal baffle strike and wonky performance. Ask me how I know the consequences of forgetting that little detail. Also, the Ruger has a rubber washer under the thread protector, so be sure to remove that too. In general, a suppressor should mount to the barrel without anything in between – with the exception of rigid spacer washers if needed.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find a subsonic load for this configuration or not, given the extra barrel length and resulting higher velocity. Some loads I tested unsuppressed were right on the edge of the sound barrier. In my shooting conditions, the speed of sound on range day was 1,141 feet per second. You can find out the speed of sound for any temperature using a handy online calculator provided by the United States Weather Service. See, taxes aren’t a complete waste.

The Ruger PC Carbine front sight is sturdy and protected by wings. It's good to go for rough car and field use.
The Ruger PC Carbine front sight is sturdy and protected by wings. It's good to go for rough car and field use.

Anyway, all of my tested loads ran supersonic so while the muzzle blast was muffled there was still the down range supersonic crack. Then I remembered I had a stash of American Eagle 124-grain suppressor ammo. I figured the extra-long barrel, compared to pistols anyway, might still cause this load to break the sound barrier, but it didn’t. In fact, the average velocity of this ammo was just 1,057.0 fps when fired from the suppressed carbine. It was quiet, quiet, quiet. I have to admit that I was a bit embarrassed to be firing this setup on the rifle line as my noise level wasn’t nearly as ear-shattering as everyone else’s.

The Bottom Line

The net-net of all this shooting is simple. One of you is going to be a very lucky dudette or dude. While this rifle feels a tad on the “heavy” side when you pick it up, that’s one of its endearing qualities. It shoots like a .22 LR in terms of blast and recoil. As for versatility, you can do a lot with this carbine. It will make an exceptional home defense gun, easily usable by most any (trained) member of the family. It makes for a great vehicle gun. It’s portable, so feel free to take it into the woods in your pack. It’s also a super-fun range plinker. I’m having some serious heartburn about having go send this carbine to one of you. That’s OK, however, I'll get over it. Your happiness will bring me joy and this rifle is worth every penny, so I’ll be purchasing my own.

The PC Carbine shown here with the Crimson Trace CTS-1000 red dot sight.
The PC Carbine shown here with the Crimson Trace CTS-1000 red dot sight.

Ruger PC Carbine Specifications

  • Stock: Black Synthetic with Aluminum Free-Float Handguard
  • Capacity: 17
  • Barrel Length: 16.12″
  • Overall Length: 34.37″
  • Barrel Feature: Threaded, Fluted
  • Front Sight: Protected Blade
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable Ghost Ring
  • Thread Pattern: 1/2″-28
  • Weight: 7 lb.
  • Length of Pull: 12.62″ – 14.12″
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Finish: Type III Hardcoat Anodized
  • Twist: 1:10″ RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • Suggested Retail: $729.00

About Tom McHale

Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

  • 74 thoughts on “Ruger PC Carbine: A Nifty 9mm Carbine – It Can Be Yours

    1. Neat looking Ruger carbine. I still prefer my ugly ole Hi-Point 9mm carbine, they also have it in .45ACP, .40 S&W, .380, 10mm. I love the accuracy, reliability and toughness–the damn thing just keeps on reliably running and I can buy two for the price of one Ruger and do even better against the big bucks brands.

    2. LOVE MY PC 9MM CARBINE….FANTASTIC FUN RIFLE TO SHOOT AND GREAT FOR HOG AND TURKEY HUNTING….DEER IS QUESTIONABLE,,BUT CAN BE DONE.. JUST A GREAT FUN RIFLE,,,USE IT AND MY AR 15 AND MY 30 CAL CARBINE ALOT..

    3. I have owned a PC9 and PC4 since they were originally introduced. My fellow enthusiasts laughed at me for owning a PCC. Now, 11 years after they were discontinued, they are back and picking up steam. All those that laughed at me back then are buying one now because they are fun to shoot. Mine, of course, do not break down like today’s offerings, but I still love them.

    4. I understand the concept of a longer barrel providing more velocity but there is no mention of the barrel. Is it stamped for heavy weight or military?

    5. Cute, but with the price of AR parts plummeting, I can build an AR-9 rifle for about $450 or less, depending on how I accessorize it.
      I handled one of these Ruger carbines at a show and was struck by how cheap it feels and looks. I was kind of disappointed as I really do like Ruger’s stuff and have a few different guns by them.

      1. Nothing cheap about this Ruger, I got the earlier version with plastic handguard and it feels solid and light. If you research you’ll find the way AR9 feeds the bullets without feed ramp, you end up with hollow points not feeding and this is known. My Ruger ate every jacketed, plated and cast bullet I threw at it and as heavy as 165gr and light as 105gr cast lead semi wadcutters designed for 357. I shot 90gr Hornady XTPs as fast as 1700fps!

    6. I’m seeing many posts on various forums about sub-par accuracy with these carbines.
      Seems that taking it down and putting it back together makes it worse. Those posters are claiming they have correctly set up the tension.
      I have a 10/22 Takedown and I don’t have this problem, but these 3-4″ 50 groups that walk at 50yds I’m reading about has kept me from buying one of these things.
      Anyone care to shed some real world use thoughts on this?

      1. I don’t know about 50 yards but I can testify to getting 2/3 of my shots in an area the size of a quarter at 25 yards, using Federal, Remington, and PMC ammo. Very much enjoy shooting mine.

    7. I love the idea of owning a pistol caliber carbine. Both fun and cheap to shoot. Perfect car gun too as many have pointed out. Having this chambered in 10mm or 45 would be awesome! Great article keep up the good work!

    8. Love my PC9! Hawkeye Customs LLC makes a cheek rest specifically for the PC9 stock which is a must when using a taller red dot or scope. The riser fits like a glove, looks like a factory accessory and aligns your face perfectly with the red dot optic. Got mine on eBay for $29!

    9. Had a Ruger .9mm carbine. What a waste. Why would you bother carrying a rifle to shoot a pistol round like .9mm?
      I would shoot it at a target 50yds away and you could actually here the delay from firing to target strike. If I’m going to bother carrying a rifle I’m going to have a rifle round. Want a carbine?
      Go with a mini 14 or mini 30. I went with a mini 14 and just as handy to carry and .223 way better rifle round. Don’t want over penitration? Want small package? Shotgun. 9mm carbine is a waste.

    10. I’m glad to see the Ruger started making a carbine. I would love to try both to see if they shoot as well as I think they would. Of course any Ruger firearm I’ve ever owned has been fantastic. Keep up the good work Ruger.

    11. My daughter could have the pistol. I’ve already given my son a Glock 17. I kept most of the mags for my Glocks. I, of course would keep the carbine!

    12. I got one and it had run flawlessly with Glock mags. I hope someone makes a tactical looking stock for it soon. I put a Ram line AR style stock on my 10-22 years ago and it looks very tacti cool. Hope they make one for the pc9.

      1. You’re in my head! Sbr stamp 10 inch barrel and a walnut stock with steel carbine buttplate!
        Ruger army rocking stalingrad! Or if you have some trenches panfilovitski

      1. I like it because it’s different and I like to celebrate diversity :-). I’ll never sell my M-1 Carbine either – that’s a great little rifle!

      1. I think this would make a nice addition to the home defense arsenal and maybe even the varmint guns here at the farm. I generally like Rugers, and have been quite impressed with my Security 9 pistol.

    13. What could improve Ruger PC Carbine? Aftermarket magazine wells to accomodate other pistols in addition to Ruger SR9 and Glock doublestack 9. How about a magwell for S&W M&P 9 or Sig 320 or HKVP9 or Springfield XDM9 or Sig P226 9 or Beretta M9? Next, I hope Ruger produces a PCC10 – a PC Carbine in 10mm. That gun would hunt and be a great camp rifle. I hope their engineers are working on that one – ideally it would come with 2 magazine wells (like the PCC9). One would use the 10mm 1911 mag and the other either a Glock 20 or Springfield XDM10 mags. They would sell the heck out of a PCC in 10mm

      1. Absolutely. I have the S&W M&P 2.0 in 3.6″ and 5″ barrels. I’d love to see a S&W magazine well insert. I thought I read somewhere that S&W and Sig P320 magazines work when a magazine catch notch is cut in the proper location. Seems it wouldn’t take much for Ruger to engineer the proper inserts.

    14. I have the Ruger 9mm carbine….ABSOLUTELY fantastic….added a scope…have shot many hogs at 140 yards (measured)….Its a great 9 mm rifle carbine…just a lot of fun. When using it for hunting and depending what your hunting try various bullets…115 gr and lower…It will drop a deer (depending on size) and closer range and exact shot location..

      Recommend everyone buy one….you will enjoy it..

      1. If your going to carry a rifle, carry a rifle round. I had a ruger 9mm carbine and you don’t go deer or hog hunting with them. If you want to call it a fun gun to shoot, ok. But I’m going to raise my BS flag on the hunt deer and hogs with one.

        1. Why not carry a .50 cal rifle? I shot a 140lb hog with a .22 pistol while riding my tractor plowing. Hit it in the spine as it was running away. Dropped it because it couldn’t run. Got out and finished it with another shot to the head..
          And yes, I have all of the other rifles, 30.06, 5.56, .308. They are all fine, but none of them will fit good in the cab of my tractor.

    15. Would love to own one. I have a rug at sl9. Live it. I also have a SW 380 EZ and 38 special. My next gun will be an AR. Great article for a women learning the ins and outs of gun usage.

      1. I had a chance to shoot the Ruger 9mm carbine at a local range. It is very comfortable and familiar in it’s set-up, since I own a Ruger 10/22 and Ruger Mini 14. I gravitate towards the Ruger stock, because I live in California, where pistol grip rifles are frowned upon. I found the 9mm carbine to be ergonomic and very intuitive to use. For my rifle “test”, I had to put 3 rounds down range at 25 yards. Without ever firing the Ruger before, I grouped 3 shots in a 4″ group, despite the target bobbing up and down.
        Winning the 9 mm Ruger carbine would nicely round out my Ruger collection. Ruger quality and lifetime warranty, what’s not to love!

          1. I can do 3 inch groups at 100 with plinking ammo and a 4x optic out of my ar 9mm with a 16 inch barrel I don’t doubt accuracy be at all but stopping power is questionable. I wouldn’t try it a a trophy buck but hogs are a dime a dozen.

          2. Why even bother mentioning 4″ group if you weren’t shooting for accuracy, just make it look like gun is shooting pretty bad when in fact even with cast bullets I was getting between 1-2″ and I know there is room for improvement.

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