An AR-9 pistol is also known as a pistol-caliber carbine. They have a shorter length than the standard AR-15 rifle. This is what makes 9mm AR rifles or pistols more compact, offering better maneuverability, flexibility, and control. Here’s a guide that will help you find the best 9mm AR pistol. In addition, we will review other great options for you.
- CZ USA –Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
- PSA GEN4
- Wilson Combat – AR-9 Carbine
- SIG Sauer MPX
- JP Enterprises GMR-15
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Best 9mm AR Pistols
Buying just any AR pistol available out there is not the right way to go. There are many models that are expensive but subpar. Even a great bang-for-the-buck deal might leave you dissatisfied. In truth, it’s about knowing what you’re looking for. To help you out in fulfilling this quest, I’ve gathered five of my favorite 9mm AR pistols.
From the look of it, you already know that it may not be legal to own a Scorpion EVO 3. Where 16” is usually alright, this pistol’s barrel length clocks in at 16.2”. Safe to say, you should do your homework before setting out to get this gun.
With that out of the way, the Scorpion EVO 3 is an absolutely brilliant 9mm PCC (pistol caliber carbine.) Typically, it comes with 22-round magazines of polymer in material (meaning lightweight). This is a unique feature for a gun of this caliber. Additionally, you can also get 30-round magazines for this weapon. It’s not going to be legal in a lot of states.
But the mags aren’t the only polymer part as the handguard and the upper and lower receivers are also polymer. This is accompanied by a polymer optic rail. It’s safe to say that the maker of this weapon has managed to cut a lot of weight using polymer.
The stock is also polymer, but this isn’t something out of the ordinary with many weapons. It is side-collapsible and can quickly turn this AR pistol into a portable weapon.
The trigger has some creep (the amount of pull until the release pin is triggered), but it’s not too much.
- Very light
- Quality polymer material
- 20- and 30-round magazine options
- Collapsible stock
- The barrel might be too long for some states
- Some trigger creep
Although it resembles an AR-15, there is more to this 9mm AR pistol than just a difference in caliber. The standard AR-15 is gas-operated, which works great for bigger rifles. However, the PSA GEN4 is blowback-operated, which works beautifully with this model. Essentially, gas-operated weapons use gas from the weapon’s barrel for pushing the piston. Blowback-operated weapons work on the same principle but in a simpler way. Smaller weapons are better off working on simple principles.
This rifle also boasts a 16” barrel, which is an ideal size for 9mm AR pistols. The handguard can fit a number of modifications, which isn’t commonly seen in AR pistols. The handguard is also very lightweight, which is ideal for this weapon type – you don’t want the balance going way off to the front when shooting. This is the part of the reason why PSA GEN4 tends to be dead-on-the-spot when it comes to accuracy.
It is also very simple to use, reliable, and inexpensive. Despite its size and lightweight feel, this PSA pistol is very durable and can take a lot.
- Quality handguard
- Trigger best replaced
When you take a look at Wilson’s AR-9 carbine rifle, you immediately recognize the shape. It has the ergonomics and a variety of features of the classic AR-15 rifle. It just seems it has been engineered around a smaller cartridge, 9mm.
Let’s start with the magazine well on this pistol. Its proportions allow it to fit a handgun magazine (double-stack). The Wilson AR-9’s opening is funnel-shaped, which is a great feature that allows easier reloading.
This pistol is particularly great for people who are familiar with AR-style rifles. Every important feature, the mag release, the safety, the handguard, the rail, will remind you of your favorite AR rifle. It feels like every feature is where your mind wants it to be.
As for the trigger, there is almost no creep involved, which is always great. The trigger breaks at around 3.5 lbs., which is convenient.
Although the Wilson AR-9 looks almost identical to the AR-15, it’s what’s under the hood that makes all the difference. Unlike AR-15 rifles, the AR-9 uses a simple blowback design to propel the bullet through the barrel. This means fewer moving parts, which is always great in small-to-medium weapons.
- Fits a double-stack handgun mag
- Funnel-shaped magazine opening
- 16” barrel
- Little creep
- 3.5 lbs. trigger breakpoint
- 15+1 round capacity
SIG Sauer is one of the most reputable firearm manufacturers. They’ve equipped countless military and law enforcement professionals with reliable pistols over the years.
The MPX, however, isn’t your typical pistol. And it isn’t as lightweight as it looks. But this is what makes the MPX the main choice for thousands of law enforcement professionals out there. It looks, feels, and shoots like a full-blown rifle, and yet it’s 9mm.
Sure, the 9mm will never offer the stopping power of a 5.56, but it’s not about the stopping power. When it comes to precision, stability, and reliability, the SIG Sauer MPX covers it all.
At 7 lbs, you may think of the MPX as too heavy. For a pistol, yes, this is a lot. But it’s hard to think of this SIG Sauer as a pistol.
The only weird thing about the MPX is its trigger. Don’t get me wrong, the trigger itself isn’t really bad. It has no pre-travel and the 3 lb. release is very comfortable and convenient. What’s weird and potentially uncomfortable is the trigger’s shape. It’s completely straight, almost resembling a dagger. So, if you don’t care for the trigger, you may want to swap it out.
- Quality build
- Feels like a rifle
- No trigger pre-travel
- 3 lb. release
- Weird trigger shape
One of the biggest advantages of using the best 9mm AR pistol compared to an AR-15 rifle is the recoil. Given the smaller caliber, the recoil is much lower. Now, imagine if a manufacturer came up with a 9mm AR pistol with even less recoil. Well, that’s what the GMR-15 is all about. With the JP Enterprises GMR-15, you get extremely fast sight recovery and much quicker follow-up shots than with most firearms out there.
The GMR-15 has a side-charging handle, which allows you to keep your cheek resting on the cheek weld (the place on the stock where you rest your cheek when firing) while reloading. This may not seem like much, but it will help you keep your eyes on the target while reloading, which is extremely important.
Speaking of reloading, the GMR-15 is just as quick as you are. It’s definitely not the carbine you want to practice your mag changes on, as it will spoil you.
The standard JP trigger is decent, but you can always upgrade. The trigger is smooth, and you won’t even notice the reset. It’s also adjustable from 3.4 to 4 lbs.
Finally, it has a fairly short barrel. At 10.5”, it’s definitely on the shorter side. However, some pistols work better with a 10.5” barrel than longer pistols. And this is a prime example.
- Ridiculously low recoil
- Quick sight recovery
- Side-charging handle
- Incredibly easy to reload
- Average trigger
What to Pay Attention to
Like with any other type of firearms, you have to know what you’re actually looking for in an AR-9 carbine rifle. Although you can always go into more detail, here is an outline of things to focus on when making your choice.
Without a doubt, whether you’re out hunting or in a home defense situation, reliability is likely the most crucial aspect for all firearms, which would include the 9mm AR pistol.
One thing is for certain with firearms, they should always work when you need them the most. You may not want to use them, or you may use them for sport. In any event, a firearm that fails to fire is a cause of frustration, at the very least. I like to think that all the AR pistols below offer more than decent reliability, but some of them also offer better quality.
Reliability depends on weather conditions and use. A good 9mm AR pistol should endure most conditions, within reason.
Ah, yes, money is often the biggest enemy of buying anything really. The problem is not finding the best 9mm AR pistol in the whole world. It’s finding one that does the same job at a price that you can afford. Believe me, you can find such a firearm, if you look hard enough.
The price range of civilian 9mm AR pistols can go from $500 to $2,200, depending on the manufacturer, customization level, and the model. Okay, the prices can actually go beyond that, but honestly, I don’t think that getting a $4,000 carbine is necessary in most cases.
Accuracy, in its bare essence, is very simple to explain. You aim and your bullets travel where you’ve aimed … provided that you are a decent shot. This has a lot to do with the gun’s build quality and other conditions. Still, an accurate gun is an accurate gun.
Now, although 9mm AR pistols share the caliber of regular semi-automatic pistols, they feature longer barrels, better grip, and potential grip upgrades. Additionally, most carbines feature a stock, which gives you a better aim. This all influences a weapon’s precision.
Still, accuracy varies from carbine to carbine, so you should definitely look into this aspect of firearms.
Although carbine rifles are essentially pistols (but not necessarily in the eye of the law), they still need longer barrels for better velocity. And 14” seems like a safe bet. However, at 14”, the velocity can exceed the limits in some states. 12” might be a better idea if you don’t want to think about state laws.
Of course, bear in mind that this is just a factor that can vary from one weapon to another. There are carbines that do a better job with 10” than 12” carbines. They might not be better in the velocity department, but they could be doing other things better.
As a rule of thumb, however, when looking at an AR pistol’s performance, 16” is perfect. But then, there’s the legal question, which may or may not impede your decision. Even so, this article wants to find the best 9mm AR pistol regardless.
In short, the definition of an AR pistol is this: An AR-15 made to be a pistol. This means that the barrel needs to be 16” or shorter and that it can’t have a stock. If you’ve ever seen legal carbines that people brag about, you’ve probably seen a stock on them, right?
Except technically, those are braces. It’s a way around the stock specs. Braces perform the function of a stock and look like a stock, but they are smaller than the regular stock.
Of course, you need to check your state law if you want to get a 9mm AR pistol. Their legal status is different from state to state.
Glock vs. Colt
You’re pretty much limited to a choice between Glock and Colt for magazines. As a rule of thumb, mixing Glock parts with Colt parts isn’t recommended due to compatibility concerns.
So, first, determine your magazine of choice. Find the carbines that you like and check their other parts and features. If you see a mix of Glock and Colt, consider it a red flag.
Personally, I think that both manufacturers have their own upsides and downsides. The best thing to do is to try as many different firearms as possible before buying.
The JP Enterprise GMR-15 is a definite winner here. It’s lighter than the SIG Sauer MPX, it doesn’t have the Scorpion’s trigger creep, and it has more stability than the PSA GEN4. The customizable trigger makes it better than the Wilson.
Although it doesn’t have a 16” barrel, the JP Enterprises GMR-15 works like a charm. At 6 lbs, it is conveniently light. It’s accurate and has fast sight recovery and quick follow-up shots. It’s reliable and affordable. Finally, with a 10.5” barrel, it’s legal except in the handful of the most restrictive states.