|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
When Ruger released the PC Carbine, I couldn’t help but want one. Sure it was ugly. And I was skeptical of the takedown feature, but I’m a big fan of pistol caliber carbines and I’ve always wanted one of the original PC-9s. The biggest drawback was that I had recently acquired an AR9...and I don’t really need two 9mm rifles.
Well, about a month back, I was in at the local gun store, and they quoted me a price I couldn’t refuse. I had them put me on their list to call when they got their next one in, and last friday I got the call. Took it home and broke it down, lubed it up, and got out to the range yesterday and today to break it in. Today I took along the AR9 pistol too, just for a side to side comparison, and thought I’d share my observations, as I know there’s some interest in these.
Fit and finish and first impressions: There’s a lot of plastic on this gun. The stock is plastic, the trigger is plastic, and most disturbingly, the adjustment ring to set the tension for the takedown barrel is plastic.So far it seems to not be a problem, but I’m not a huge fan. The receiver seems to be made of some kind of alloy, which after the approximately 500 rounds I have through it, is showing some wear inside where the bolt rides. It’s not anything unexpected, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it as I go forward to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
The barrel to receiver fit is smooth, with a tiny, barely perceptible bit of side-to-side wiggle when you put pressure on it, even with the lock ring snugged down. We’ll talk about accuracy later, but this makes me glad both the front and rear sight are on the barrel...and also concerns me as I plan to mount a red dot to the receiver, and I’m not sure how this will impact consistent zero. I will say that although the plastic lock ring did not inspire confidence, I had no problems with it loosening during firing.
Trigger: The trigger is plastic. This did not thrill me, but after shooting it, I’d say it’s a non-issue. It’s light and crisp (probably about 4lbs)...WORLDS better then the PSA mil-spec unit in the AR9. It makes for a really pleasant shooting experience...heavy enough to be safe, but light enough that it’s easy to avoid jerking or pulling shots.
Sights: Both the front and rear sight are mounted to the barrel. Some may dislike this due to the shortened sight radius, but due to the gun having a takedown barrel, I believe this was a good choice on Ruger’s part. The front sight is a protected post, while the rear is a peep. The aperture of the rear sight is quite large, making precise shots at long range difficult for my bad eyes, but considering the thing is chambered in 9mm, fast target acquisition is more important than long range precision, so I’d say Ruger made the right call here as well.
Only the rear sight is adjustable, and requires an allen wrench to do so. I forgot mine on the first day, and the gun was hitting low right at 25 yards, so I had to wait for the second trip to get it dialed in.
Reliability: As stated above, I have about 500 rounds through the gun now (JHP, plated, and some REALLY dirty cast reloads), and I’ve had only one malfunction, and one other issue that I believe was my fault. The single malfunction was a failure to feed in which the round was jammed vertically up against the breach by the bolt. This malfunction occurred using a 21 round magpul Pmag, which I brought along mainly just to see if it would cause a malfunction. I probably shot 60 rounds through this mag, with only the one malfunction. I had zero problems with factory G17 and G26 mags, with 400+ rounds fired from them. LRBHO worked as designed every time with all mags. I didn’t try the Ruger mag that came with the gun, as I have no centerfire Ruger semi-autos, and don’t plan on using it.
The other issue I had during my first trip was that the bolt handle kept coming loose. Thankfully I had a screwdriver with a bit that fit that allen head bolt in my trunk, and was able to tighten it down, but had to do so several times. When I re-assembled it after cleaning following the first trip, I cranked it down really hard with an allen wrench, and had no problems with it coming loose on the second day. We’ll see how that fix holds up...some loctite may be in its future.
These minor issues pale in comparison to the difficulties I’ve had in getting my PSA AR9 to run properly, which include abnormal trigger wear, doubling, and even a couple of out of battery discharges.
Accuracy: I was pretty pleased overall. The targets (shot at 25 yards) speak for themselves, just keep in mind that the AR9 was wearing a red dot and the PC Carbine was open sights (with a large rear aperture), so it’s not a true comparison. I will need to follow up on this once I get a red dot mounted on the Ruger.
Recoil: The Ruger wins this one. It may have something to do with the tungsten weight in the bolt, or the reduced bolt travel, but it definitely has a softer impulse which allows for faster follow up shots.
Ballistics: I was kinda curious how much difference the 16” barrel makes compared to the AR9. I was shooting my reloads...124gr Berrys plated over HS6. HS6 is a bit slow for a pistol powder, so I thought it might gain more than others out of the longer barrel. I chronographed it out of a few different guns just to get a comparison (all numbers are 5 shot average):
Glock 26: 1091fps
Springfield EMP4: 1170fps
PSA 9mm AR Pistol 8.5”: 1340fps
Ruger PC Carbine: 1382fps
Obviously the longer barrel yields quite a bit more velocity, but the gains start to decrease as the barrel grows, judging by the mere 40fps gain in the PC Carbine over the 8.5” AR. At over 1300fps, both knocked down steel plates with authority.
Takedown and Cleaning: Being blowback, both the AR9 and the PC Carbine get FILTHY. The AR in particular is a pain to clean because of the little nooks and crannies around the FCG, which stay pretty much spotless in my DI guns, but tend to crud up badly in the blowback variant. The Ruger, while requiring an allen wrench, is really easy to detail strip, and the wide receiver is easy to scrub and wipe out compared to the narrow, constricted upper of an AR. This simplicity of construction along with the takedown barrel will also likely lead to easy caliber conversions in the future, if Ruger ever gets around to offering them.
Overall I’m very pleased with the gun. It doesn’t check every box that I wanted, but for the price it’s a fun, reliable rifle that will probably see a lot of time at the range. I wish there was less plastic (especially that barrel takedown adjustment ring), and I wish it wasn’t straight blowback, but these are minor quibbles so long as it remains reliable. If the aftermarket ends up taking off on these (simple caliber conversions, magazine modules for different manufacturers, better sights and stocks, etc.), it could end up being a really excellent purchase.
|Fighting the good fight|
Thanks for the writeup.
I have a strong itch for a PC9, but I'm holding out for a non-takedown version with receiver-mounted rear sight, specifically to address the barrel to receiver wobble and sight radius/peep size issues you touched upon.
Basically, I'm waiting for a configuration more like the older Ruger PC:
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Yeah I looked at used copies of those, but they're hard to find, and cost about twice what I paid when you can find them (local retailer has an excellent LE discount on new guns). I am torn about the takedown barrel...I don't like the wobble, and I don't really care about the portability aspect of it....but if Ruger ends up offering caliber conversions for this gun, it will be a necessary part of that. Ultimately, I need to get a receiver mounted sight and see how much impact it has on accuracy before I can decide if I can live with it or hate it.
|Frangas non Flectes|
Thanks for your review. Your last line is kinda where I was hope it really shines. If the aftermarket community takes to this rifle the way they did the 10/22, we could be in for a neat new platform. I would love a non-takedown version with a rubberized Hogue like what Rogue posted. I wonder what it would take to convert the takedown version to a fixed barrel and stock?
did cleaning instructions come w/ the ruger,
are they wonderful?
Safety, Situational Awareness and proficiency.
Neck Ties, Hats and ammo brass, Never ,ever touch'em w/o asking first
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Not sure about cleaning instructions, specifically, but the gun did include detailed, easy to follow instructions for complte assembly/disassembly.
|Armed and Gregarious|
Thanks for the comparison.
I was all set to get one of these, until I found out you can't swap the safety for left handed operation.
So I'm stuck with an AR9. I also chose to go "Glock" style, rather than "Colt" style. Time will tell if that was a good choice or not.
"He was never hindered by any dogma, except the Constitution." - Ty Ross speaking of his grandfather General Barry Goldwater
"War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want." - William Tecumseh Sherman
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