First introduced in 1985 with the Model 9, Marlin’s neat little 9mm semi-auto rifles were pitched as durable and compact guns that were ready to tag along to the field.
With styling that gave a nod to the military surplus M1 Garand and Carbine, the Model 9 had what was billed as a Garand-type safety and a one-piece walnut finished press checkered Maine birch stock.
Using a 16.5-inch Micro-Groove barrel and a machined steel receiver that was sandblasted to prevent glare, the gun’s overall length was 35.5-inches while it tipped the scales at around 6.75-pounds– very near the size of an M1 Carbine.
Shipping with a 12- or optional 20-shot detachable magazine, the Model 9 was augmented by the .45ACP-caliber Model 45 starting in 1986, and both were marketed as Marlin’s “Self-Loading Camp Carbine.”
Drilled and tapped for a scope and fitted with adjustable folding rear leaf sights with a ramp front, later generations of the Camp Carbine came standard with a high-viz orange front post covered by a Wide-Scan cutaway hood.
The action included a manual bolt hold-open with an automatic last-shot bolt hold-open and a loaded chamber indicator. The stock came standard with a rubber rifle butt pad and swivel studs.
Of note, the magazine of the Marlin Model 9 could be swapped out for S&W Model 59 double stack pistol mags, which are common. The Model 45 used a 7-round M1911-style single stack. In 1990, Marlin discontinued the optional 20-rounder and began shipping the Model 9 with a four-shot magazine before settling on a 10-round mag in 1995.
Price in Marlin’s 1999 catalog, the last time the gun was carried, listed the Camp Carbines in both models with a retail of $459. By 2000, the guns were discontinued as Marlin ceded the pistol caliber carbine market to Ruger and Hi-Point.
Today, Marlin, which was acquired by Remington in 2007, no longer makes a centerfire semi-auto but continues to market their seemingly everlasting Model 60 and 795 rimfire self-loaders.