First Look: Ruger PC9 9x19mm Carbine

By Randy Wakeman

Ruger PC9 9x19mm Carbine
Illustration courtesy of Sturm, Ruger.

There is built-in appeal in the notion of being able to use the same ammunition in your rifle as in your pistol. The Thompson M1928A1, the "Tommy Gun," was in service by the U.S. Military from 1938-1971, with over 1.5 million produced during WWII. Using the same .45 ACP rounds as the 1911 pistol that was standard issue from 1911 onward, simplified ammunition supply. For today's consumer, a 9mm semi-auto offers lower cost per shot than most centerfire rifle cartridges.

The Ruger PC9 Carbine has a 16.12 inch heavy, fluted barrel and that can mean a big performance increase, compared to pistol exterior ballistics. With a four inch pistol and Cor-Bon JHP +P 125 grain rounds, you can expect a muzzle velocity (MV) around 1226 fps. Out of this Ruger carbine, the same round jumps to about 1430 fps.

Contingent on the specific cartridge, you are getting somewhere in the area of a 20% increase in muzzle velocity. The Hornady 115 grain Critical Defense round jumps from 1140 fps to 1378 fps out of the Ruger PC9. While this does not turn the 9mm Luger into a real rifle cartridge, it is a significant jump for home defense and 9mm makes a very pleasant round with which to plink. In addition, most people can shoot a carbine more accurately than the handgun, even at indoor distances.


  • Model Number: 19100
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • Capacity: 17
  • Barrel Length: 16.12"
  • Overall Length: 34.37"
  • Barrel Features: Threaded, Fluted
  • Front Sight: Protected Blade
  • Rear Sight Adjustable Ghost Ring
  • Thread Pattern: 1/2"-28
  • Weight: 6.8 lb.
  • Length of Pull: Adjustable, 12.62" - 14.12"
  • Receiver Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Finish: Matte, type III hardcoat anodized
  • Twist: 1:10" RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • 2018 MSRP: $649.00

Several years back, the Marlin Camp 9 was reasonably popular and I used mine on groundhogs. The Camp 9 was discontinued in 1999. While standard capacity was 12 rounds, I used S&W Model 59 14 round magazines in mine.

When my Dad and I shot at the Illinois State Rifle Association event, to qualify for the M1 Garands offered by the Civilian Marksmanship Program, Dad wanted two Garands. Somehow, he convinced my Mom to shoot with us in the rain and mud for that purpose. I let Mom use my Camp 9, as it was so comfortable to shoot.

The ill-fated, so called "Assault Weapons Ban" took effect in 1994 and expired in 2004. Apparently, Marlin got cold feet when the ban was enacted and stepped away from the market. Now, for 2018, we have the Ruger PC9 Carbine.

The Ruger PC9 has a lot going for it and in brief test-firing I was pleasantly surprised at its good trigger, which uses 10/22 components. The factory ghost ring iron sights are also quite good.

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 PC9 has an interchangeable magazine well, so you can use either Ruger or Glock magazines. A clever takedown design allow the user to lock the bolt back, push a recessed lever, twist the sub-assemblies and pull them apart.

It has an ambidextrous magazine release and charging handle. There is an integral Picatinny rail atop the receiver, so you can easily add optics. The barrel is threaded for use with standard muzzle accessories.

The molded, glass-filled, nylon synthetic stock is also 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.

Although the Ruger PC9 is hardly my vision of breathtaking beauty, the general appeal of this little rifle is hard to ignore. It is easy to manage, fun, easy to shoot, has a standard capacity of 17 rounds and is the type of rifle that the entire family will enjoy. Whether shooting for fun or as a basic home defense arm, I think that Ruger got it right with this model and they will probably sell large numbers of them. A full Guns and Shooting Online review will follow in the near future.

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Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.