2018 Ruger PC9 9x19mm Carbine
Pistol caliber carbines have the attributes of reasonably economical shooting and low recoil. Over the years, the most quality time I have spent with a 9x19mm carbine was with the Marlin Camp 9, which took Smith & Wesson Model 59 magazines. Aside from just general target shooting, I used it to clear out a goodly number of ground hogs that were doing tremendous damage.
For a time, 9mm carbines were trendy. The very cheaply made Hi-Point has been reasonably popular and Ruger themselves entered the market back in 1996 with their original PC9 9x19mm "police carbine" that was discontinued in 2006. At the time, Ruger cited low demand as the reason it was dropped from the line. Well, it seems they are popular once again, as is the tactical theme.
If there is such thing as an average accuracy, something in the range of 3-1/2 inches at 25 yards is what I get out of a run of the mill, striker-fired 9mm pistol. What you can expect out of this Ruger PC9 is more like 3-1/4 inches at 50 yards, on average. As a generalization, the Ruger PC9 carbine is more than twice as accurate as many 9mm handguns and there is a substantial velocity gain to be had with the longer barrel of the PC9.
I do not have a vintage Ruger PC9 here to directly compare with the new Ruger PC9, but it seems apparent the new model owes a great deal to the successful Ruger 10/22 take down models. Although the new PC9 is terminally ugly, like its predecessor and like many rifles in this category, it is well built and works extremely well.
The receiver is CNC-milled from 7075-T6 aluminum alloy and given a matte black anodized finish. The "dead blow" (blow-back) action features a custom tungsten dead blow weight that shortens bolt travel and reduces felt recoil and muzzle rise. The bolt is machined from heat treated, chrome-moly steel for strength, structural integrity and durability.
The trigger on my example breaks cleanly at 4-1/2 pounds. It has a good feel and is a big jump up from the old mushy Marlin Camp 9 fire control and the original Ruger PC models.
Ruger has really improved the new PC9. It has stock spacers to adjust the length of pull, the charging handle can be attached to either size of the bolt and the magazine release is reversible.
The factory ghost ring aperture sights are excellent and very suitable for a home defense, plinking, or small game rifle. A Picatinny rail is built into the receiver, as well, so you can easily add the optics of your choice.
You get one 17 round Ruger SR series magazine with the rifle and a Glock magazine well adapter is also included. Already, some enterprising individuals have machined notches in their S&W M&P magazines to use in this rifle, so it would not be surprising to see more magazine adapters being made available.
Although some may get excited over magazine well inserts, I am not one of them. Ruger SR-9 17 round magazines are widely available for $15 or so. Rather than the insert and switching magazines, it would be far more sensible to simply include three or four magazines with this $649 MSRP rifle.
One of my few quibbles about the PC9 is the magazines fit loosely. This does not affect function, but I do not care for parts that wobble or rattle on any firearm.
The molded, glass-filled, nylon synthetic stock is black, with a textured grip. There is a rubber recoil pad and the length of pull is adjustable from 12.62 to 14.12 inches by means of three included 1/2" spacers. A short Picatinny accessory rail is molded into the front of the fore end. Sling swivel studs are included.
WHAT IS THIS CARBINE GOOD FOR?
Good question, and there is no easy answer. For inexpensive plinking, any number of rimfire rifles are cheaper to feed, much more accurate and essentially have no recoil worth mentioning You can shoot .22 LR rimfire for about a nickel a shot, 9x19mm for 15 cents a shot, or .223 for around 20 cents a shot. Nothing beats a .22 LR for cheap, fun shooting and small game hunting.
At the same time, for similar dollars, you can pick up any number of AR-15 rifles that are more accurate, similar in weight and better at essentially everything that a 9mm rifle can do. There is no question than pistol ammo has improved over the years, but .223 ammunition has, as well, and in a big way.
If you do not have a drawer full of 30 round Magpul AR-15 magazines, your neighbor does and you don't need to change magazine wells to use them. Stock length of pull adjustment shims are fine, but again, how many AR-15's already have six position butt stocks?
Though no fault of this platform or Ruger, the 9mm Luger cartridge is simply much less powerful, accurate and versatile than the .223 Remington. With the right ammo, the .223 Remington is a good medium to long range varmint and small predator cartridge and very effective for home defense. A huge variety of loads are available in .223 and no 9mm carbine can rationally compare to it.
As for the Ruger PC9 itself, Ruger has done a very good and thoughtful update. The trigger is decent, the take-down is instant, the factory sights are outstanding and the stippled texture of the stock is satisfying. If you want a 9mm semi-auto rifle, the Ruger PC9 deserves to be on your short list.
Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.