Suddenly, all things PCC are hotter than ever. Those unfamiliar with the pistol caliber carbine world won’t be able to avoid the platform any longer. Henry Repeating Arms’ new Homesteader was a surprise. Hi-Point Carbines are a budget steal. 

But it’s the long-produced Ruger PC Carbine that continues to set the bar in the PCC market. Here’s what you need to know about the repeater and its many variants. 
 

Table of Contents

Video
All About the PC Carbine
Takedown How-To
Our Test Gun
Specs
The Many PC Carbine Variants
Field Testing
Accuracy...
...And Reliability
The PC Carbine’s Uses

Video

 

 

All About the PC Carbine

 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
Ruger's PC Carbine dominates the world of pistol caliber carbines, a platform increasing in popularity among shooters of all types. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


We’re long overdue in taking a closer look at Ruger’s PC Carbine lineup of semi-automatic blowback actions. The dead blow system uses what Ruger calls a custom tungsten weight that not only shortens overall bolt travel but also reduces recoil. The bolt itself is machined from chrome-moly steel, while the receiver is CNC-machined from aerospace-grade aluminum with an integral Picatinny rail. 

In a move to fit many different shooters’ builds, the standard stock can be customized with included three spacers, though adjustable furniture is also an option. There’s a soft rubber buttpad and glass-filled nylon synthetic stock on most models.

The trigger pull is surprisingly familiar, due to the proven 10/22 trigger components. Both the magazine release and charging handle are reversible. Ruger includes interchangeable magazine wells for use of pretty much all the common Ruger-brand pistol magazines, but also Glock mags. Many models are designed with the quick takedown mechanism, which allows the gun to be separated, essentially in half, to be even more compact and packable. 
 

Takedown How-To

 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
Takedown is simple – just slide the lever at the base of the forearm... (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


Speaking of the takedown feature, we’ve been enjoying that for years on other Ruger models, including the 10/22 Charger, which appears to use a similar – if not identical – design. On our PC Carbine, the process is simple. 
 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
...and twist the two halves to pull them apart. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


First, open the action and ensure the firearm is unloaded while locking the bolt back. Slide forward the recessed lever located at the base of the forearm, while subsequently twisting the two assemblies and pulling them apart. 

Reassembling is even simpler, as nothing needs to be depressed. Simply insert the barrel into the receiver assembly, twist back, and listen for the audible the snap of the lever locking back into position. The operation can be completed in seconds. 
 

Our Test Gun

 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
The heavy fluted 16-inch barrel wears an aggressive muzzle brake and fiber-optic green front sight... (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


We put in a request for a PC Carbine from the GDC Vault, but there are seemingly pages of offerings. Consider us tickled when a lightly used Takedown variant arrived in a nice hard case packed with goodies. Our used rig came fitted with Tandemkross fiber-optic sights. There were several 10-round magazines, a Glock mag well adapter, LOP stock spacers, and the charging handle removal tool. 

The heavy 16-inch contour barrel is fluted and dressed with contrasting red and green fiber-optic iron sights. An aggressive muzzle brake on the threaded barrel finishes out the rig. With that short barrel, overall length is only 34.37 inches, making this an ultra-maneuverable and fast-handling setup. 
 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
...with a contrasting red rear sight. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


There’s a three-slot Picatinny rail at the base of the hand guard, forward of the sling stud, for accessorizing. The sling studs and molded grip panels are practical additions to an already versatile firearm. Our test gun is marked as being made in “Newport, NH, USA.” 
 

Specs

  • Overall Length: 34.37 inches
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10 rounds
     

The Many PC Carbine Variants

 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
It's going to be painful to return this PC Carbine to Guns.com. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


In addition to the test model Takedown – which we don’t want to send back – Ruger really does build a model variant to suit most every shooter, even those in gun-unfriendly states. There are versions with an AR-style free-floating aluminum handguard and six-position buttstock. 

Some are red, white, and blue as part of the company’s flag series, while others are camo, OD Green, or FDE. Several use Magpul’s cutout Backpacker stock. Ruger even offers several different “state compliant” models with features and magazines tailored to appease their limiting locales. 

Regardless of the model features, all PC Carbines feed from detachable magazines. Most ship with many with 17-round capacities, while others are limited to 10. Retail pricing runs from $779 to $1,009, with real-world prices often lower, since the platform has been around for a good number of years. 
 

Field Testing

 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
Controls are ambidextrous with a reversible mag release and charging handle. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


One of the first features to impress are the ambidextrous, reversible controls. The charging handle is simply threaded into place and can be quickly changed from right to left. 

Likewise, the mag release button is reversible. Not only are these features handy for lefties, but some shooters prefer to remain in firing position while manipulating controls with their non-dominant hand. 

With an unloaded weight of 6.8 pounds, this darling has enough heft to completely negate the already-light 9mm recoil, yet remains light enough to feel handy on the move. 
 

Accuracy...

 

Ruger PC Carbine 9mm rifle
A PCC isn't a precision rifle, but five-shot groups were tight firing while fairly quickly from the bench. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


We played around with steel and reactive targets but also shot a few accuracy groups. While no PCC is marketed as a precision rifle, the combination of a heavy contour barrel, crisp trigger, and control-enhancing features make this a surprisingly capable shooter. 

Accuracy groups were as expected, firing five shots fairly quickly from the bench. We’re not talking MOA groups, but definitely above-average in the 9mm world. Because we were digging the aftermarket Tandemkross fiber-optic irons, we went sans optic; however, a fast-acquiring reflex sight or red dot would excel here. 
 

... And Reliability

We headed to the range with a mix of common 9mm ammunition offerings from Hornady, Federal, Winchester, Blazer, and SIG Sauer. We dared the PC Carbine to fail with cheap casings, alternated FMJ with hollow points – and the gun just runs, plain and simple. 

Because the gun uses so many common magazines, it’s no stretch to grab a handful of mags and have them loaded up at the beginning of a range session to keep the targets engaged. 

The biggest downfall? It’s incredibly simple to burn through copious amounts of 9mm food on the range. 
 

The PC Carbine’s Uses

 

With its takedown feature, compact fit, low recoil, and cheap ammo opportunities, the PC Carbine is versatile for uses from home defense to competition. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


Like most PCCs on the market, options for maximizing the potential of the PC Carbine are already many. Add in the variety of model types, and those uses expand even further. No matter the setup, these are some of the most enjoyable plinking companions, with low recoil, cheap ammo, rapid operations, accuracy, and compact fit. 

PCC competition shooting also continues to boom, while other shooters have found the metrics and rapid firepower ideal for home and personal defense. Hunting is more of a stretch, but a reliable PCC certainly earns its keep around the ranch.

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