Ruger PC9, 9mm Carbine, by Pat Cascio

The all-new and improved Ruger PC9, 9mm carbine is under review. And this may just be the hottest selling firearm on the market right now.

When Ruger Originally Came Out With PC9

Some years back, Ruger came out with a PC9, 9mm carbine. However, the one draw back was that it only took magazines from Ruger handguns. While not necessarily a bad thing, many shooters wanted more; they wanted a compact little carbine that would take magazines from other gun makers. Still, the original PC9 was a hot-seller, and after it was discontinued demand was crazy. Used models were selling for more than a thousand dollars, believe it or not.

Demand for PC9

As I write this, in the middle of January, 2018, Ruger can’t begin to keep up with demand for the PC9, not even close. My local gun shop that I haunt has 20 of these firearms on order. However, the distributor has no idea when they will have the guns in stock and ready to ship. Yet, daily customers come in asking if they have a PC9. I will go out on a limb here and predict that, if Ruger can keep up with supply and demand, they will sell a million PC9 carbines this year!

PC9- A Take-Down Carbine

One of the first things one notices on the new PC9 is that this is a take-down little carbine, much like the Ruger 10/22 Take Down model that has been a hot-seller. I’m sad to say though, Ruger doesn’t provide one of their Take Down backpacks with the PC9. However, you can purchase one from, if you want one. Still, a regular ol’ backpack works almost as well. When the PC9 is separated into two parts, and it only takes a few seconds to break it down, it will fit inside most full-sized backpacks.

Takes Magazines From Other Gun Makers

Ruger heard enough complaints with the original PC9 from consumers demanding/begging for a model that would take magazines from other gun makers, and Ruger listened. The first new model PC9 has interchangeable magazine wells. The gun comes set up from the factory to take Ruger SR9 and Security 9 magazines. However, Ruger also includes another magazine well adapter that takes GLOCK 9mm magazines. You can also purchase, from Shop Ruger, a mag well adapter that takes the Ruger American 9mm pistol magazines. I predict, in short order, Ruger will probably have a mag well adapter so the PC9 can take Beretta Model 92 magazines. What comes next, who knows?

In order to change the magazine well adapters, you have to break the PC9 down. This is a simply operation. It takes about five minutes to do, and it’s easy! I suspect many users will probably install one particular mag well adapter and leave it at that. However, with ease of swapping the mag well adapters out mean it’s not a problem to change from one type of magazine to another in short order.

PC9 Specs

Let’s take a close look at the PC9 specs. First up, this model is only chambered in 9mm. I’m not sure Ruger will design one for the .40 S&W round, as many police departments are dropping this caliber and going back to the 9mm. The stock is heavy-duty black synthetic material, and it’s not cheap either. The barrel is 16.12 inches long and has a threaded end for installing an AR-type 9mm flash suppressor or even a suppressor, which is very nice indeed! Its overall length is 34.37 inches. The front sight is a protected post with wings on either side of it, and the rear sight is a fully adjustable Ghost Ring type, for a sharp sight picture. The barrel is also fluted to lighten it a little bit; it is a heavy-duty barrel. Weight on the PC9 when empty is 6.8 lbs.

Stock- Adjustable Length of Pull

One really nice thing with the new PC9 is that the length of pull of the stock can be adjusted from 12.62 inches to 14.12 inches. It comes with plastic spacers, and it only takes a few minutes to make this adjustment. The receiver is an aluminum alloy and finished in type III hardcoat anodizing. The black synthetic stock has very fine stippling in several strategic locations for a sure hold under any weather condition. The top of the receiver has a built-in Picatinny rail, for mounting a scope or perhaps a red dot sight. The front underside of the stock also has a Picatinny rail molded into it, if you want to attach a flashlight or even a laser there. There are molded-in sling swivel attachments as well.

Trigger and Magazines

The trigger is outstanding, breaking cleanly at 3.5 lbs, which makes for great accuracy potential. The PC9 ships with one 17-rd SR9 magazine. I own an SR9, so I have plenty of spare magazines that can be used in the SR9 handgun and the PC9. It’s nice to have a carbine and handgun that takes the same magazines.

I mentioned this is a take down carbine, and it only takes a few seconds to lock the bolt open, press on the lever under the stock, and twist. With that, the gun is apart. However, read the owner’s manual for full instructions on adjusting the barrel locking nut. This is important!

More Outstanding Features

There are a couple more really outstanding features that I wanted to mention. The magazine release is one that can be changed from one side of the gun to the other, as is the charging handle on the bolt. This is outstanding if you are a southpaw, or if you want the bolt charging handle and mag release on the same side. In my case, I’m going to install both on the left side of the PC, as it will make for faster magazine changes and for chambering that first round. The safety is a cross bolt style, in front of the trigger guard. The threaded ½”-28 barrel has an included thread protector on it, if you elect not to put a flash or sound suppressor on the PC9.

New GLOCK Mags Work

Ruger mentions that older GLOCK 9mm magazines will not work if you switch the mag release to the other side, because older GLOCK 9mm mags only have a cut-out on one side of the mag. However, brand-new GLOCK mags are really inexpensive right now, so stock up if you plan on using the PC9 with GLOCK 9mm magazines.

PC9 Is Well Made Top-of-the-Line 9mm Carbine

When I first received the press release on the PC9, I have to admit that I wasn’t all that thrilled; I was stupidly thinking that this was just a modified Ruger 10/22 and it might be cheaply made. I hate admitting I’m wrong, but I was. While the PC9 has a slight resemblance to the 10/22, they are two completely different firearms. The PC9 is a heavy-duty carbine that will handle all the 9mm shooting you want to do; I kid you not. Some have speculated that this isn’t as good as an AR type of rifle. Far from it; this is better built than any entry-level AR, and I would put it in the same class as an upper-end AR. It is “that” well-made with all the features you need or want and nothing you don’t need. Read this again. The PC9 is “that” well-made. It is a top-of-the-line 9mm carbine, end of story

Testing With Range 9mm Ammo

I tested the PC9 initially with the Ruger SR9 mag well adapter installed and fired a little over a hundred rounds of various ammo, lots of it “range” 9mm ammo, just a lot of the rounds tossed into a box, some reloads, many of unknown origin, and the PC9 never once missed a beat. Also, I don’t recommend firing any firearms without hearing protection; however, the 9mm carbine doesn’t hurt the ears like a .223 AR would. I tested it! This puts it in use as a nice house gun. If forced to fire the PC9 indoors without hearing protection, you won’t go deaf!

A House Gun

Speaking of house guns, I have said in the past that it is easier to maneuver through a house with a handgun instead of a rifle or shotgun, and I stand by this. However, if forced to carry a long gun, the PC9 would sure help you search out the bad guys. It is short enough and light enough to get the job done, and with a 33-rd GLOCK 9mm mag installed you have all the fire-power you’ll need. If the golden hoard is attacking your dwelling, you simple grab your PC9 with a loaded GLOCK 33-rd 9mm installed, and a Blackhawk Products tactical thigh 9mm mag pouch that holds three of the GLOCK 33-rd mags, and you have all the fire power you’ll need.

Test Firing Using 1,000 Rounds of Black Hills Ammo

I contacted long-time friend Jeff Hoffman at Black Hills Ammunition and told him I wanted to do a limited test of firing 1,000 rounds of 9mm ammo through the PC9, firing as fast as I could, to see how the carbine would hold up. Luckily, I had a good number of the 33-rd GLOCK 9mm mags on-hand, as well as a couple dozen GLOCK 19 magazines. I enlisted some helpers to load magazines for me. After a couple hundred rounds, my trigger finger was getting tired; osteo-arthritis in my gun hand doesn’t help. So, my volunteers were more than happy to just burn through that 1,000 rounds of ammo with me. Jeff send me his brand-new factory seconds of 9mm ammo, which is ammo that might have a tarnished case or a tiny ding, and they won’t sell it as factory new, even though it is. I looked at a lot of this ammo, and I couldn’t find what made them factory seconds. Black Hills hand inspects every single round of ammo before packing it and shipping it out. That’s how picky they are.

Test Firing Results

Inside of half an hour, we had burned up that 1,000 rounds of Black Hills 9mm FMJ ammo. The gun’s barrel was warmish/hot but not smoking hot. Still, if you held the barrel with a bare hand, it would have burned your hand. The gun looked no worse for wear, and I did some accuracy shooting at 50 yards with the PC9 rested on a sleeping bag over the hood of my Chevy Avalanche. If I did my part, I could get groups well under two inches. Again, this was at 50 yard, using Black Hills 124-gr JHP ammo. We took turns taking pot-shots are rocks and other stuff out to a hundred yards and hit what we were aiming at. Clearly, I believe that the PC9 is a great defensive weapon out to about 150 yards or a bit farther.

A Gun In Great Demand For Good Reason

As I mentioned early on in this article, this gun is in great demand and hard to find. Full retail is $649, and I’m seeing it on some of the gun auction websites for more than retail. Had I known how much I was going to love this PC9, I would have requested several samples from Ruger. In any event, I did ask for two more– one for the wife, who fell in love with it, and the oldest daughter, too. I was told that it would be after April 1st before any more would ship my way. That’s how backed up with orders Ruger is right now. If you can find a PC9, buy it. Don’t put it down, because the guy next to you will buy it from under you.


  1. Pat Cascio :
    I remember this fire arm! I’ve talked to people who said pretty much what you said about it. Very nice article. Of course I have to keep asking that pesky question who and/or what was the dumb a– reason for dumping it? If it ain’t broke do not fix it or get rid of it (stop making it). I wonder if that individual kept his job after that fowl up? All good questions, if anyone knows the answers give out a shout please, thanx.
    Semper Fi!

  2. Hi Pat –
    I have come to really enjoy your product reviews – thank you!

    I’m a HUGE Ruger fan and have a diverse assortment of what they have to offer in quality firearms. I would seriously consider adding this carbine to my own inventory, but I already have a carbine that fits in my backpack and can be deployed in just a few seconds. The Keltec Sub 2000.

    Now there’s no way that the quality of the 2000 compares with a Ruger, I know that and recognize that. However, for the price of one PC9, I have TWO reliable carbines (thousands of rounds and not one issue), accurate to 100 yards (I’m not talking a 2″ group, but metal still rings on every shot if I do my part) and the 2000 can be obtained to accept not only our 9 mm Glock magazines, but our 40 SW Beretta 96 magazines (there are others as well).

    No, it’s definitely NOT a Ruger, but it is fully collapsible, fairly accurate, easy to deploy, dependable, affordable, customizable and a load of fun to shoot.

    BUT, if I had the funds, I’d have the Ruger as well!

    1. I have a Kel-Tec Gen 2 Sub 2000 and love it. It fits nicely folded in half in my EDC bag along with my Glock 17 and uses the same magazines. It has eaten ALL 9MM ammo I’ve fed it without a hiccup.

  3. Other than the 10/22, I’m not a huge fan of Ruger, but I have to say I’m intrigued by this one, and may have to put it on “sooner rather than later” lost. Great review Pat

  4. Awesome news, if too late for me! A while back I was looking for a 10mm carbine to match with my G20 and finally found a Thureon Defense – then the Glock self-destructed and crushed a bone in my wrist. I finally found an original PC9, then a NIB P93 a few years ago. People can poo-poo the concept if they want but I love having a pistol-carbine combo that shares mags!

  5. Marlin made a Camp 9 years ago that took S&W 5900 series mags. I have one and love it. I am seriously looking at the new Ruger carbine as another rifle for uncertain times. They also made it in .45 as a Camp 45 that took GI 45 mags

  6. My former department had three of the 9mm carbines back in the early 90s, with the wooden stocks. Ours accepted the 15-round S&W Model 59 magazines. Had them for several years until upgraded to AR platforms.

  7. Hmmm, is there PC .45 in the ( near ) future ? Uncle Sam started me on the .45 way back when and I would be interested in PC .45 if possible. that being said. I recently picked up a S.A. 1911 compact 9mm, so yeah, I could live with a PC 9mm if need be.

  8. I was initially excited about the return of the PC9. Then I remembered I have some M1 Carbines that essentially serve the same purpose, are lighter weight, and are well proven in reliability already, with my 15- and 30-rd magazines. So, I think I;ll just enjoy the Carbines for now.

    BUT, if I did not have the M1 Carbines, then the PC9 would be at the top of my list for next firearm to buy. I don’t consider it a primary defense weapon, as I have pistols and AR15s for that. But for pure fun, teaching new shooters, and possible defense I would want a PC9. The pricing looks excellent. Hopefully there will be light weight stocks available.

  9. Looks to me that they are going to make kits to allow other calibers to be used by simply changing the magwell, bolt face, dead blow weight? and barrel. Take a close look at the innards. I’m getting one as soon as I can find one!! I think using sub ammo 147g? and my sightmark Photon xt would be a lot of fun. Watch out Yotes!

    1. I measured the holes in the weight when I got my PC9. The holes would only allow half an ounce of extra weight if they were not there. Not enough to handle a 40 S&W.

      The removeable bolt face looks to be that way to retain the firing pin and cushion the force of the bolt closing forward.

  10. I wish I hadn’t read this article! Now I want a Ruger PC9. I already have a Keltec SUB2000 in 9mm. I keep it in a laptop computer case and toss it in the vehicle. But I also own five Rugers of various types and consider them to be very well made quality firearms that will last a lifetime.

  11. This is a hot carbine now but if Ruger can’t deliver it to the public interest will fade and an opportunity will be lost. They’ll then resort to to discounting. No wonder owning gun company stocks is frustrating.

  12. I just bought a PC9. running lots of ammo thru it looking for the one that groups best. the best ammo has evaded me up to this point. I can keep most inside a 6 inch circle at 100 yds with 124 gr+p military nato, but still searching .
    I love the break down feature, and it is easy to clean. It makes a great short range defense weapon.
    good job Ruger

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