In January of 2018, I did a review of the then fairly-new Ruger PC9. I was more than impressed with this little 9mm carbine, as was my wife. She insisted on getting one, and loves shooting it. I have to ration the 9mm ammo when we go out shooting, or she’ll shoot-up every round we bring with is…she is fast on the trigger and deadly accurate as well.
I knew it was only a question of time before Ruger, brought out different models. I correctly predicted that they’d bring one out with a telescoping stock and a pistol grip. The people spoke, and Ruger listened. We’re going to take a look at the new Model 19122 and it’s one honey of a 9mm carbine.
Depending on who you talk to, or what you find in your research, a modern “carbine” can be described many different ways. In many respects, it is a rifle with a barrel around 16 to 20-inches, and typically it fires a handgun round. However, that isn’t always the case, to wit, the M1 Carbine of WW2 fame, fired what was called the .30 Cal M1 carbine round – it wasn’t a handgun round per se. I’ve owned more than a few M1 Carbines over the years, and they were all fun guns to shoot, and I would take one into combat without hesitation. I should mention that we are talking about military M1 Carbines, not some of the civilian copies – many of which weren’t very reliable.
The M1 Carbine, .30 Caliber round is something akin to a .357 Magnum round, and there isn’t nothing anemic about the .357 mag round. It is a well-proven man-stopper of a pistol round. Of course, the military was required to use FMJ bullets, no hollow points or soft points. I’ve taken several deer over the years, with a 110-grain softpoint lead round from an M1 Carbine, and they didn’t take a step after being hit – they just went down – fast!
The 9mm round is the most popular self-defense round in use, all over the world, bar none. Even, the US military switched from the .45 ACP to the 9mm back in the 1980s, as their service round. Right now, in the midst of this Coronavirus, there is a serious run on 9mm ammo, and when you can find it at a gun shop, it is expensive, and even more so on-line. I recently saw an ad for 9mm FMJ ammo that nearly gave me a heart attack. As near as I can calculate this, it comes out to slightly less than $700 for a case of 1,000-rds of 9mm FMJ. Yikes!
I’m certainly not a “hoarder” when it comes to anything, I’m just a smart and well-provisioned Prepper, and have been buying my ammo and other supplies over many years. And when I shoot-up some ammo, I replace it. So, there was no need for me to run to the gun shop and buy a case or two of ammo. We’ve all seen the scenes on television of people in a panic to purchase toilet paper – buying hundreds of rolls if they could – leaving nothing behind for other shoppers – those are hoarders.
Let’s take a real good look at the latest Ruger PC9 version. As already mentioned, it is chambered in 9mm – some of the other PC9 models can be had in .40 S&W, but it’s not a hot seller for some reason. The little carbine weighs in at 7.3-pounds, so it’s not exactly a light-weight, compared to the M1 Carbine that came in around 5.5-pounds. Still, it’s not overly heavy and it balances well – a little front end heavy, but nothing you’d really notice. The adjustable stock is akin to those found on many AR-15 style carbines, and it telescopes about 3-inches, so you can adjust it to fit your body frame and shooting methods. The free-floating handguard is ventilated and made out of light-weight Aluminum, and it has M-LOK attachment points on all four sides.
There are no sights on this PC9, instead, it has a Picatinny rail mounted on the top, so you can mount some form or optic. These days, most shooters are opting to install some form of red dot sights on their firearms. I have no problem with this, as I have several firearms with red dot sights – however, I also have back-up sights, just in case the red dot gets broken or the batteries go dead, I can still aim and use the back-up sights. The upper and lower receivers are made out of aluminum alloy, and have a Type III hard-coat anodizing on them.
By the way, the barrel is fluted, to help keep weight down. And the end of the barrel is threaded if you want to install a suppressor on it – the thread pattern is ½”x28 – be aware, there are also other threads made for many 9mm guns, I made the mistake of buying the wrong sized flash hider for my original PC9. It wouldn’t fit. And even more importantly: DO NOT just sscew a typical AR muzzle brake or flash hider on a PC9. Most of those only have internal dimensions for clearance of .22/5.56 bullets! You need to be absolutely certain that the muzzle device allows clearance of 9mm projectiles.
There are two interchangeable magazine wells provided by Ruger with each PC9. One well takes the Ruger SR9, 17-rd magazines, and the other takes Glock 9mm mags. It only takes a couple minutes to swap out the magazine wells, no gunsmithing required. I took out the Ruger mag well, and installed the Glock one and never looked back. I found that the 33-rd Glock mags work great. However, I also found ETS 30 or 40 round mags work just as well, and they are easier to load than the Glock mags are, and they are less expensive.
The PC9 is actually a take-down carbine, and taking it into two parts it is super-easy. You make sure the gun is unloaded, lock the bolt back, and then a simple little lever is activated and you twist the barrel and receiver apart, and the gun is broken down into two parts for easy transportation. Ruger sells a great little gun case for putting these two pieces in. However, a gym bag works well, too — for more discreet carry. The magazine release can be moved to the left side of the gun, as well as the bolt release. I left mine as-is for some reason, but I can see where the bolt release on the opposite side would make for faster reloads and charging the gun for a new magazine.
Ruger calls the bolt a “dead bolt” action, and it features a custom tungsten dead blow weight that shortens the bolt travel, and it helps reduce felt recoil – not that there is much recoil to speak of. The pistol grip is pretty much that of an AR-15, and it is comfortable – very nice, indeed! Trigger pull is outstanding if you ask me – better than most ARs I’ve handled over the years.
Ammo for Our Tests
We had a great selection of 9mm ammo on-hand to run through this little PC9 carbine, from Black Hills Ammunitionwww.black-hills.com we had their 115 FMJ, 115 JHP +P, 124-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP, 115-gr Barnes Tac XP+P and their 100-gr HoneyBadger all-copper fluted rounds. I also had a box of “range 9mm ammo” and this is a mix of various 9m ammo that was tossed into a mix.
With no iron sights on the PC9, I resorted to a red dot sight, and put the target out at 50-yards – I don’t like walking back and forth at 100-yards in my old age. It took some doing to get the red dot sight zeroed, but one I did, it was giving me groups of about an inch and a half without much trouble. I swapped out the red dot sights and installed a cheap magnifying sight and once zeroed, I was getting groups of about third quarters of an inch with no problems. I was using a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my pick-up – I keep plenty survival gear in the locked bed of my truck, and there is always a sleeping bag in this gear.
There were zero malfunctions in all my shooting – I fired more than 500 rounds. This is a fun gun to shoot, so I expended a lot of ammo in my testing over two shooting sessions. Needless to say, the PC9 liked some ammo better than others. I had several groups of 1-inch, using the magnifying scope – but I couldn’t do it all the time. Those groups were with the Black Hills 124-gr JHP +P load…all the other ammo was pretty much a tie – not enough difference in the group sizes to make a difference, in my opinion.
Full-retail on this PC9 version is $799. But as always shop around and you can find these guns for less money. They would make a great home-defense carbine, or in bad times, make one heck of a gun for close range defense, too. And, if you like plinking at rocks or other targets of opportunity, this is one fun gun for that kind of work, as well.
I bought one of the original PC9 carbines, along with a boatload of the Hirtenberger Submachinegun +P+ 9mm ammo that was available in bulk at that same time. Together, they make a potent setup. Hirtenberger 124grain 9mm, 1506 average, 186 power factor.
Pat, have you tried the little kel-tec yet? very light, small, folds up and very accurate. No need for any optic, comes with sights
Which model… isn’t the 2000 in 9mm discontinued ???
No. It is still available. Great little gun and very accurate. I hv run about 200 rds through it and no hiccups. Glock mags match sidearm.
Checked this morning, SGammo is out of 9mm. If their price holds once new stock arrives, the price for FMJ is around .35 cents, and hollow points seem to run around .80 cents. Also checked the price of 7.62×39. It has increased to up to around .31 cents for either FMJ or soft points. They still have cases of .308 that starts at .84 cents. PSA still has a few complete rifles for sale, namely, 2 variations of the Springfield M1A for $1400, and bit less for the SOCOM-16. Given the current situation or not, I’d love to have an M1A. Of course with a bit of work, one could find something else.
Yes, was finally able to score 2 boxes of 20 9mm hollow point locally and paid .80 each! Crazy. Will just stash those away and hope I never need them! Motivation to become a better shot; don’t want to waste more than one bullet on anyone deserving of being shot! 😉
Do drills without firing. If you need it, most of it will be up close, inside of 7 yards, so accuracy is not as critical, but the deployment of the weapon is the most important. Go slow and smooth. You’ll have plenty of speed when you need it, if the motion/drill becomes muscle memory, because slow is smooth and smooth is fast. There was a study years ago that found that new shooters tend to pay more attention and took their time deploying their handgun were better shots than those who were very experienced, learn bad habits and missed the target more often than new shooters.
Moral of the story: Don’t learn bad habits.
Hope you check out the new PC Charger. Combined with an arm brace, seems like it would be a fine PDW. (Maybe a little heavy?)
How to Check a Revolver Before Buying or Firing
Tunnel Rabbit’s comment:
Good check list. I would also do a rapid dry fire to see that it functions smoothly. Always assume that no one sells a good horse.
Given the ammo drought in the U.S.. revolvers in the less popular cartridges are now more justified, as the price popular of 9mm self defense rounds are .80 cent/round, and much higher, IF you can find it for sale. Same can be said of the other popular cartridges. However, the once higher priced 44 magnum, and it’s lower recoil cousin cartridge, .44 Special, that can be shot from the same .44 mag revolver, are now both priced near, or less than the current high price of popular cartridges, 9mm,.38, .45acp, . 40 cal etc. And this ammunition is still available in good quantity at SGammo.com.https://www.sgammo.com/catalog/pistol-ammo-sale/44-special-ammo. Also look at .41 magnum, and other alternatives. 5 or 6 rounds well placed shots out of a ‘wheel gun’ (revolver) in these less powerful popular cartridges would usually be adequate, but 5 rounds of .44 mag, or .44 special would be much better.
There is simply no substitute for heavy slugs. Yes, the revolver would be heavier, but it would also be a heavy hitter. 9mm is weak in comparison, and you’ll have fewer rounds to get it done. When the popular cartridges are all gone, you’ll still be able to find ammo as well. It is an alternative that, at the very least, is better than nothing at all.
As far as I know their still producing th Kel-tec Sub 2000 in 9mm.
I have a Ruger PC9 and this is my travel rifle. Matter of fact I am out of town now and have it with me along with 4 of the Ruger mags. Mine was accurate right out of the box and I am please with it and my wife also likes shooting it. The rifle along with my EDC 9mm makes a good combination. Ruger did a great job with this model.
I remember in the late 60’s ruger made a 44 magnum carbine w/a wood stock
I got one and loved it wish I still had it
I have a PC9, but ‘someone’ might want to try one of these. I have been informed that they work really well with a generic AR15 lower and 9mm uppers. When you can’t find any 9mm you pull this out and use your lower for something else.
I own two of the Stern Defense mag well adapters — one for Glock and one for SIG P320. They work very well. HOWEVER, I do not recommend them for anything but training guns. You see, they have a re-located magazine release button at the bottom of the mag well. In the stress of a combat situation, someone might find themselves punching at the original magazine release button — and those are deactivated. You’d have to fight your muscle memory to use one, and that is difficult, when under high stress.
Glad you gave some light on the .30 carbine. It really isn’t a bad rifle for the urbans and is compact to carry in tight spaces. Not very loud and ammunition not very heavy (though a little pricey when can be found).
Although not a box fed magazine rifle such as the M1 Carbine, an SKS is similar in some respects. If one has a handgun as a back up, instead of reloading the SKS after it’s 10 round magazine is spent, transition to the hand gun. I would use soft point ammunition that currently around .30 cent around. If looking for an SKS, keep an eye out for the Chinese made Norinco SKS with the more maneuverable 16 inch barrel.