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9 Best Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCCs) In 2024: Hands-On Reviews preview image
Jan 04 2024
23 min read

9 Best Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCCs) In 2024: Hands-On Reviews

ImageProductPrice
saint victor 9mm carbineBest Overall – Springfield Armory Saint Victor PCC
Best Takedown Design – Ruger PC Carbine 9mm Semi-Automatic Rifle
Best Budget-Friendly Option – Hi-Point 995TS Carbine 9mm Semi-Automatic Rifle
Best for Versatility – Kel-Tec SUB2000
CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine Semi Automatic Rifle Best for Close Quarters – CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
Best for Performance Shooting – Sig Sauer MPX 9mm Carbine Semi-Auto Rifle
SMITH & WESSON FPCBest for Rapid Response – S&W M&P FPC
CENTURY ARMS AP-5 9mmBest MP5 Clone – Century Arms AP5
HENRY HOMESTEADERBest for Classic American Craftsmanship – Henry Homesteader

The exhilaration of handling some of the best 9mm pistol caliber carbines (PCC) is unique, blending the compactness and lighter weight with solid firepower traditionally associated with handgun rounds.

This guide is born out of extensive hands-on testing and analysis, where thousands of rounds were fired across various 9mm PCC models to gauge their performance, strengths, and weaknesses in real-world scenarios over several weeks.

For both the experienced sharpshooters and the newbies out there, we’re looking at how these carbines perform in the real world. It’s not just about the specs (though those are important, too). We’re talking about how these guns feel in your hands, how reliable they are when it counts, and, of course, the sheer joy of shooting them.

As we journey through this guide, you’ll get the lowdown on each 9mm PCC. But it’s not just a list of pros and cons. I’m here to light a spark in you, to get you as excited about these guns as I am. We’ve put each one through its paces with some serious testing, so you can be sure you’re getting the real scoop.

Whether you’re looking to add to your collection or pick your very first 9mm PCC, this guide will give you the confidence to pick the right PCC. Let’s jump in and find the perfect match for you!

Why Go For a Pistol-Caliber Carbine?

You’re probably thinking, “I’ll just stick to my trusty AR-15 and keep it simple”, and yes, you could do that.

However, a 9mm PCC is lighter, more mobile, and has a broader utilization and viability than standard semi-automatic rifles, not to mention the low-cost ammo.

Whether it’s plinking, target practice, self-defense, or even hunting, it makes total sense to invest in a gun that can fill lots of roles and act as a jack-of-all-trades firearm, and besides, it really complements your arsenal’s diversity.

Let’s check out the specific advantages.

The Ammo Argument

Let’s face it. The biggest reason that pistol caliber carbines are considered a uniquely viable firearm option is the low-cost cartridge available at any time, any place.

Almost every PCC owner uses them for target practice regularly, and this requires a lot of ammo; the only other cartridge that’s cheaper than the 9mm is the .22LR, but it’s becoming difficult to find.

To give you an idea of how expensive standard semi-automatic rifle cartridges can be, a .223/5.56mm Winchester white box costs around $15. It takes around 5 seconds to unload a full 30-round magazine. You do the math.

Great For Home Defense

Depending on how compact the model is, pistol-caliber carbines offer much more mobility and ease of use in comparison to semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

In the event of burglary or breaking and entering, having a viable home defense option like a compact PCC is better than blowing holes in your walls with a 12-gauge Mossberg.

The low-recoil 9mm cartridge and the shorter frame of the PCC enable you to act fast and maneuver better around your home.

Additionally, the stock offers better handling and accuracy at short and long ranges, allowing you to maintain your form while shooting bursts and follow-up shots. It makes a world of difference in contrast to concealed-carry handguns.

A Viable Option for Hunting Coyote

The 9mm can be loaded with 147-grain bullets that can reach 1100 ft/s, and thanks to the long 16-inch barrel, shot placement and accuracy won’t be a problem at a mid-range.

To put things into perspective, handguns have 3- to 5-inch barrels, while semi-automatic rifles are commonly associated with 16-inch barrels. Depending on the cartridge, longer barrels boost bullet velocity, energy, and accuracy.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an outdoor/survival rifle, a well-placed shot within a range of 25 to 50 yards is enough to kill a deer, but you should stick to the .30-06 Springfield or the .270 Winchester if you’re going for ethical kills. As for coyotes and other varmints, a PCC really does the trick.

At the end of the day, I would not recommend the 9mm PCC as a hunting option. However, it’s a decent survival option because the 9mm has enough stopping power for a medium-sized bear, for instance.

Quieter Than Other Rifles and Handguns

Using an AR-15 at the ranges can do a number on your ears; believe me, tinnitus is no joke. This is where pistol-caliber carbines come in.

Because of the 9mm cartridge and longer barrel, you can bet that the PCC is much less noisy than other rifles. With the added low recoil (with the exception of the .22LR), 9mm rifles offer a very smooth and peaceful target practice at the ranges.

If you take the .223/556 NATO, for instance, the 9mm bullet is definitely quieter.

A quick disclaimer: always, and I mean ALWAYS, wear your ear protection muffs and plugs, despite shooting quieter calibers.

Think of All the Aftermarket Options

Despite being a somewhat less popular rifle type, the 9mm PCC enjoys an abundance of aftermarket options and customization parts you can find today.

Depending on the model and version, there are not many handgun aftermarket parts besides flashlights, sights, and magazines (essential parts don’t count here).

The vastly different frame and construction offer many customizations that can transform your PCC into a uniquely suited firearm.

Many 9mm firearms have lots of rails and attachment points, and you can add scopes, sights, magazines, and new stocks to turn your weapon into a great recreational shooting piece for all ranges and situations.

Additionally, 9mm rifles can share magazines with other 9mm handguns, depending on the model and compatibility. This takes away the hassle of purchasing different magazine calibers, which are often more costly. This way, you can have two different types of firearms that use a single type of caliber. Think of all the savings you can accumulate.

Convinced? Let’s now look at some of the best pistol-caliber carbines.

Best Pistol-Caliber Carbines

Best Overall – Springfield Armory Saint Victor PCC

Springfield Armory Saint Victor 9mm Carbine, 16" Barrel, 32+1 Rounds, Black, Semi-Automatic Rifle
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Specifications

ManufacturerSpringfield Armory
ModelSaint Victor
TypeModern Sporting Rifles
Caliber9mm
Barrel Length16″
Capacity32
ConditionNew in Box
Finish Per ColorBlack
Manufacturer Part NumberSTV91609B
UPC706397952723
Ideal UseTactical, Sport Shooting

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Reliable and accurate
  • Upgraded internals and furniture
  • Great training tool – especially if you have a Saint Victor in 5.56
  • Longer barrel helps avoid any “pistol” regulations
Cons
  • Not fully ambidextrous (charging handle)
  • Only comes with one mag – wouldn’t be a con if it accepted Glock mags!

The 9mm Victor has proven to be a reliable firearm, with only a few failures out of nearly 700 rounds from our own testing and has performed well with a variety of ammo. The gun’s reliability stands out compared to other AR-9s, which have experienced more issues with ammo-related failures.

springfield armory saint victor 9mm carbine side view

The 9mm Victor’s accuracy is impressive right out of the box, with consistent 1.5″ to 2″ groupings at varying distances, even when using iron sights. The gun’s performance improves further with the addition of an optic.

The Victor has a well-balanced feel and a comfortable weight, making it easy to handle during longer shooting sessions. The aluminum full-length handguard adds to the gun’s sturdy feel.

The Springfield flip-up sights are highly favored for their low profile, spring-loaded design, and aircraft-grade aluminum construction, offering a sturdier feel compared to polymer Magpul sights.

The trigger on the 9mm Victor is praised for its flat face, light pull, and quick reset, allowing for easy follow-up shots. However, the controls could be improved by including an ambidextrous safety selector and charging handle, which are absent even at the $1,000 price point.

springfield armory saint victor 9mm carbine front sights blast diverter

The 9mm Victor features B5 Systems components for its buttstock, grip, and trigger guard, offering a comfortable and textured grip. The gun uses reliable, durable steel Colt-pattern magazines instead of Glock mags.

A blast diverter is incorporated under the handguard to direct sound and debris forward and away from the shooter. The full-length free-float aluminum handguard with M-Lok slots offers versatility for accessory options and enhances comfort for those who prefer a thumb-over grip.

springfield armory saint victor 9mm carbine flip up sights

Overall, the 9mm Victor offers a reliable and enjoyable shooting experience.

Best Takedown Design – Ruger PC Carbine 9mm Semi-Automatic Rifle

Ruger PC Carbine 9MM Semi-Automatic Rifle, 16.12" Threaded/Fluted Barrel, 17+1 Rounds, Black Hard Coat Anodized, Synthetic Stock, Optics Ready - 19100
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Specifications

BrandRuger
ModelPC Carbine
TypeSemi Auto Rifles – Tactical
FinishAnodized
Stock/FrameSynthetic Stock
Caliber/Gauge9mm
Capacity17 + 1
Barrel16.12″ Fluted
Overall Length34.37″
SightsFS: Blade/RS: Adj Ghost Ring
Safety2 Position Crossbolt
Manufacturer Part Number19100
UPC736676191000
Ideal UseVersatile, Home Defense

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Easy to take down
  • Excellent reliability and accuracy
  • Can withstand harsh conditions
  • Great value
  • Can be fitted with different magazines
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Unlike most models, it’s not ambidextrous
  • Not much accessories available

Our encounter with the Ruger PC Carbine was a captivating mix of tradition and modern engineering. As we took to the range, the carbine’s negligible recoil immediately stood out, making it an exceptionally user-friendly choice for both seasoned and novice shooters.

The versatility it displayed across a variety of scenarios, such as home defense, plinking, and competition shooting was admirable, hinting at its well-rounded design. We especially appreciated the interchangeable mag wells, which accept common Glock & Ruger magazines, enhancing its adaptability to different user preferences.

While the 9mm cartridge’s stopping power may require consideration based on the intended use, especially in home defense situations, the Ruger PC Carbine’s blend of fun, functionality, and flexibility left a lasting impression on us.

ruger pc carbine range test review

The carbine’s design aspects, like the fluted barrel and M-Lok handguard, not only added to its aesthetics but also contributed to its practical functionality. The fluted barrel, while reducing the front weight, maintained a good balance, making it easy to maneuver around, especially in confined spaces, as one might find in a home defense scenario.

The M-Lok handguard, on the other hand, offered a familiar and comfortable grip, allowing us to securely hold and control the carbine while firing. The Picatinny rail provided ample space for mounting optics, which in our case was a red dot from Vortex, enhancing our accuracy and target acquisition speed on the range.

These features collectively contributed to a superior handling experience, making our time with the Ruger PC Carbine both enjoyable and productive.

ruger pc carbine review vortex red dot

In terms of reliability and accuracy, the Ruger PC Carbine stood tall. Throughout our testing, consisting of 250 rounds, the carbine functioned flawlessly without a single malfunction, even when we pushed its limits. Its accuracy was commendable, even at a distance of 40 feet, the red dot sight aiding in consistently landing shots on target.

The ergonomics, despite the shotgun-style stock, which some of us found less appealing, were great overall, and the felt recoil was almost non-existent. The Ruger PC Carbine’s performance, coupled with its ergonomic design and fun factor, undoubtedly earns it a spot on our list of top pistol caliber carbines.

Its capacity to serve multiple roles right from home defense to outdoor plinking while providing a platform for customization makes it a worthy choice for any enthusiast looking to invest in a 9mm pistol caliber carbine.

ruger pc carbine review with magtech ammo

We even reviewed the Ruger PC Carbine if you want to read more about it!

Best Budget-Friendly Option – Hi-Point 995TS Carbine 9mm Semi-Automatic Rifle

Hi-Point 995TS Carbine Semi-Automatic 9mm, 16.5" Barrel, 10+1 Rounds, Black Polymer Stock
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Specifications

ManufacturerHi-Point Firearms
Model995TS Carbine
TypeModern Sporting Rifles
Caliber9mm Luger
Barrel Length16.50″
Capacity10 + 1
Stock FinishBlack
ActionSemi-Auto
SightsAdjustable Post Front, Peep Rear
Manufacturer Part Number995TS
UPC752334009951
Ideal UseAffordable Home Defense

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • One of the most cost-effective options on this list
  • Surprisingly exceptional accuracy and reliability
  • Hi-Point warranty includes repairs and replacements
  • 20-round capacity
Cons
  • Has a problem with most 9mm magazines
  • Off-putting aesthetics

Don’t laugh, but the Hi-Point 995TS is big and fairly heavy. On a serious note, this gun is the underdog of the PCC world that’s secretly a champion in accuracy.

Somehow, Hi-Point is notorious for producing terrible quality handguns at a moderate price, but this little 9mm PCC is a completely different story. It’s definitely one of the cheapest options you can find if you’re going for a 9mm rifle.

Hi-Point managed to step up their game and created a hybrid carbine/AR-15 Frankenstein’s monster. It’s totally capable of blasting 100-yard bullseyes, has a 16.5-inch blued steel barrel, and polymer skeleton design that’s available in several different colors and camo options.

The 995TS performs well with its simple blowback operation, not to mention the really low 9mm recoil coming from a 6.25-pound rifle. It has an internal recoil buffer, Weaver-style rails for accessorizing, sling swivels, and a scope base.

The downside to this PCC is that it’s ugly and it doesn’t accept most 9mm magazines. If you can’t find spare magazines on the market this may be a huge problem.

On the other hand, Hi-Point offers warranty policies with repairs and replacements which is super cool.

Overall, it’s a great choice if you’re going for something truly cheap and you’re planning to completely customize this sharpshooting abomination. You can grab some optics, foregrips, and even folding stocks if you feel that it stabs your clavicle.

If you want to learn more about this PCC, check out our Hi-Point PCC review here, although this is for the 30 Super Carry variant.

Best for Versatility – Kel-Tec SUB2000

KELTEC KEL-TEC SUB2000
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Specifications

ManufacturerKel-Tec
ModelSub-2000
TypeSub-rifle
Caliber.40 S&W
Barrel Length16.25″
Capacity15
Finish Per ColorBlack
UPC640832004090
Ideal UseCompact, Versatile

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • 17+1 rounds
  • Lightweight
  • Loads of other models with different calibers
  • Portable, easy to clean, and can fit in a backpack
  • Accepts most 9mm magazines
  • Very low recoil in comparison to the other rifles
Cons
  • Difficult to find

This weird-looking gun is probably the very definition of a portable 9mm rifle. The Kel-Tec SUB2000 carbine looks like an elongated pistol with a barrel and stock, but it comes in many different Glock mags like the Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, the .40 S&W variants, and Beretta, among others.

It has a 16.25-inch barrel, it’s light, weighing only 4.25 pounds, and it’s pretty accurate for a 9mm carbine.

It’s short, lightweight, and dependable, but what I most like about this one is that it’s focused entirely on utility.

The Kel-Tec SUB2000 rifle offers an edge in camping and survival, and you can fold it down and put it into a backpack for storage. Simply rotate the barrel upwards and back, and you can turn it into a metal heap that’s 16 inches long and 7 inches high. Once you secure the rifle with a built-in lock and key system, it stays folded.

It has a Picatinny accessory rail above and below the barrel for aftermarket customization.

The reason why it’s in such high demand is its reliability and accuracy, all thanks to the 16.25-inch barrel length. The minimalist and odd appearance may fool someone, but best believe that it works just the way that the manufacturer intended.

Best for Close Quarters – CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine 9mm, 16.2" Barrel, 20+1 Round, Black
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Specifications

ManufacturerCZ
ModelScorpion Evo 3 S1
TypeTactical Carbine
Caliber9MM LUGER (9X19 PARA)
Barrel Length16.2″
Capacity20
Finish Per ColorBlack
UPC806703085050
Ideal UseTactical, Home Defense

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Great for short-range applications
  • Highly versatile
  • Ambidextrous thumb safety
  • Adjustable trigger system
  • Adjustable sights
  • Compact, adjustable stock
  • M-Lok rail system for aftermarket customization options
Cons

Our experience with the CZ Scorpion EVO3 S1 was nothing short of invigorating.

The first thing that caught our attention was its resemblance to the iconic MP5, yet the Scorpion holds its own identity with a blend of modern design and functionality. Upon handling it, we appreciated the ergonomic design; it felt robust yet manageable, promising a good day at the range.

scorpion evo 3 s1 profile photo

We were not disappointed. The Scorpion exhibited remarkable accuracy and dependability as we unleashed the 9mm rounds down the range. The recoil was minimal, making it quite enjoyable to shoot, while the non-reciprocating charging handle provided a reliable mechanism to keep the rounds coming.

The availability of custom parts is a significant plus, allowing for a personal touch on the Scorpion. We also appreciated the ambidextrous controls, catering to a broader range of shooters. Despite its compact design, the gun balanced well, making it easy to get on target quickly, a feature that would be beneficial in a home defense scenario.

scorpion evo 3 s1 profile photo

Transitioning to comparisons, we found the Scorpion standing tall against the other models like the 3+ Micro and 3+ Pistol. The EVO3 S1’s blend of a modest barrel length, comfortable grip, and adaptable sights provided a sweet spot for both accuracy and maneuverability.

The ease with which we could adjust the sights to fine-tune our accuracy was a commendable feature. Even with the factory trigger, we managed tight groupings at varying ranges, and the transition to an aftermarket trigger only enhanced this experience, showcasing the Scorpion’s potential for customization.

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 front sights

Finally, let’s talk about the fun factor because the Scorpion was indeed a blast to shoot. Its design beckons a fast shooting pace, and it delivers without a hitch. The straightforward manual of arms made it easy to operate, and the fun was only amplified when we explored the customization possibilities.

The Scorpion was more than just a range toy; its accuracy, reliability, and ease of handling make it a viable option for home defense or a compact gun for outdoor adventures. The aftermarket support further cements its position as a valuable addition to any gun enthusiast’s collection.

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Review sights

We found the CZ Scorpion EVO3 S1 to be a remarkable piece of hardware, offering a blend of fun, functionality, and freedom to personalize, making it deserving of a spot on our list of the best pistol caliber carbines.

For more information, check out our full review here.

Best for Rapid Response – Smith & Wesson M&P FPC

Smith & Wesson M&P FPC 9mm 16.25" Semi-Auto Folding Pistol Carbine with Adjustable Black Stock and 23-Round Capacity
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Specifications

ManufacturerSmith and Wesson
ModelM&P FPC
TypeSemi Auto Rifles – Tactical
Caliber9mm Luger
Barrel Length16.25″
Capacity23 + 1
Finish Per ColorBlack
Manufacturer Part Number12575
UPC022188892512
Ideal UseVersatile, Compact Design

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Ultra-compact folding design
  • Reliable and accurate performance
  • Optic can stay mounted and zeroed
  • Spare magazines and carrying case included
  • Threaded barrel and M-Lok handguard
Cons
  • No backup sights
  • Stiff controls initially
  • Gassy operation
  • Two-handed charging handle
  • Limited to 9mm caliber

The Smith & Wesson M&P FPC has emerged as a noteworthy contender in Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCCs). Especially for those who are already fans of the M&P platform, the FPC is a game-changer as it allows for magazine sharing between your pistol(s) and the FPC, epitomizing functionality and versatility.

Unlike the KelTec Sub2000, which folds vertically, the FPC boasts a horizontal folding mechanism, ensuring your optic stays on, zeroed, and ready for action – a feature that instantly sets it apart.

smith wesson m&p fpc folding capabilities

Our testing phase with the FPC was nothing short of impressive. The reliability was spot-on, as we fired 250 rounds without a hiccup. The accuracy too, didn’t disappoint, proving that the FPC can hold its own against other PCCs in the market. The solid feel of the FPC, despite its lightweight, accentuates its appeal.

The zero play at the pivot point, smooth handguard, and the M-Lok attachment points underline its well-thought-out design. Not to forget, the flat-face trigger ensures a clean break and quick reset, making rapid firing a breeze while staying on target.

smith wesson m&p fpc review

The FPC doesn’t just stop at being reliable and accurate; it’s a bundle of features packed in a compact design. The horizontal folding feature is a testament to its innovative design, making it a unique offering in the PCC segment. The M-Lok handguard, in-stock magazine storage, and the flat-face trigger are features that not only enhance its functionality but also provide a wide canvas for customization.

With an attractive price point, especially given its reliable performance and the accessories it comes with, the S&W M&P FPC definitely provides a significant bang for the buck. Whether you are on the lookout for a backpack gun, a truck gun, or a fun range toy, the FPC is a value proposition that’s hard to overlook.

Check out our full S&W FPC review here.

Best MP5 Clone – Century Arms AP5

Century Arms AP5 9MM Semi-Auto Pistol, 8.9" Barrel, 30 Rounds, Roller-Lock Delayed Blowback, Matte Black, Includes 2 Magazines
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Specifications

ManufacturerCentury Arms
ModelAP5
TypeSemi Automatic
Caliber9MM LUGER (9X19 PARA)
Barrel Length8.9″
Capacity30
Finish Per ColorBlack
UPC787450668539
Ideal UseTactical, Collector’s Item

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Manufactured using genuine H&K tooling.
  • Excellent price-to-value ratio.
  • Highly reliable performance.
  • Iconic design with modern upgrades.
  • Availability of cheap surplus and aftermarket parts.
Cons
  • Older design may feel dated to some.
  • Non-ambidextrous charging handle.
  • Stiff button magazine release.
  • Safety selector is functional but basic.
  • Limited customization options with original parts.

Venturing into the best 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCCs), we knew we had to test the Century Arms AP5, a budget-friendly MP5 clone. The MP5 has long enjoyed popularity across various platforms, from movies to video games.

The AP5 is a collaboration between Century Arms and MKE, aiming to offer a taste of the MP5 experience at a more accessible price point. As we prepared for the review, a core question was on our minds: Can the AP5 match up to the reputation of the MP5?

century arms ap5 review

Our hands-on experience with the AP5 was both instructive and engaging. Adhering to the break-in recommendations, we initially cycled 500 rounds of specific ammo through it, setting the stage for further testing. The AP5 showcased remarkable reliability, handling the rounds with ease. Its accuracy was commendable as well, making target engagement at varying distances quite manageable.

The design of the AP5, particularly its roller-delayed blowback action, made recoil management smooth, enhancing the shooting experience.

century arms ap5 review range test with groupings pmc bronze ammo

When pitted against other models like the Zenith ZF-5 and B&T APC9 PRO, the AP5 held its ground well. It mirrors the classic MP5 design, providing a platform ripe for customization for those looking to tweak their PCCs.

Although each model comes with its unique set of features, the AP5 stands out for its nod to the iconic MP5 design, balanced with modern-day reliability and customization possibilities.

The AP5 offers a blend of historical reverence and operational effectiveness, making it a worthy contender for anyone looking to explore the PCC landscape without breaking the bank.

Check out our Century Arms AP5 review here.

Best for Performance Shooting – Sig Sauer MPX 9mm Carbine

SIG Sauer MPX PCC 9mm, 16" Barrel, 30+1 Rounds, 5-Position Folding Stock, Black Hard Coat Anodized Finish
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Specifications

ManufacturerSig Sauer
ModelMPX Competition
TypeModern Sporting Rifles
Caliber9mm
Barrel Length16″
Capacity30 + 1
Finish Per ColorBlack
Manufacturer Part NumberRMPX-16B-9
UPC798681596201
Ideal UseCompetitive Shooting

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Top-quality PCC
  • Very reliable and durable
  • Adjustable 16-inch barrel length
  • Well-balanced with low muzzle flip
  • Ambidextrous
Cons
  • Very expensive and hard-to-find magazines
  • Huge for a PCC
  • Really, really expensive

If you’re looking for a top-shelf 9mm, the Sig Sauer MPX will impress you.

This is a 30-round behemoth, capable of blasting targets at a 200-yard range with no problems.

Surprisingly enough, it shoots pretty accurately for an automatic, even when you unload the whole mag in one go. It feels like a relentless AR-15, only it shoots 9mm cartridges.

It has a full-length key MOD handguard and Picatinny rail that lets you customize it with sights and attachments without affecting handling and operation. With its ambidextrous controls, charging handle, bolt release, mag release, and selector switch, it’s pretty much left-hand friendly.

This rifle is designed to withstand harsh weather, has a corrosion and rust-resistant finish, can take a lot of beating, and retains heat even though it’s a 30-rounder.

Sig Sauer thought of everything and wanted to really make a high-quality pistol caliber carbine that can truly stand the test of time.

If it wasn’t for the insane MSRP, I would have moved the Sig Sauer a little higher on this list.

Best for Classic American Craftsmanship – Henry Homesteader

Henry Homesteader 9mm Semi-Automatic Carbine Rifle, 16.37" Barrel, 10-Round Capacity, American Walnut, Blued Finish - H027-H9
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Specifications

Caliber9mm
CapacityFive to 50 rounds
Overall Length35.75 inches
Barrel Length 16.37 inches
Weight 6 lbs 6 ounces
Length of Pull 14 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Low recoil, easy to handle
  • Accurate and reliable performance
  • Versatile modular magwell
  • High-quality build and detailing
  • Attractive classic design
Cons
  • Limited to 9mm caliber
  • Challenging to accessorize
  • Higher price range

The Henry Homesteader 9mm Carbine, a refreshing addition to the pistol-caliber carbine (PCC) market, was unveiled at SHOT 2023, catching many by surprise.

henry homesteader 9mm carbine with ford truck background

This semi-automatic carbine stands out with its classic style paired with modern functionality. It’s unique in its use of wood furniture while being compatible with a variety of magazines, including Glock, S&W M&P, and P320, thanks to its modular magwell.

We found the Homesteader a versatile ‘family’ firearm, suitable for users of varying experiences due to its user-friendly, low-recoil design. It also boasts a subtler appearance, potentially more favorable in self-defense situations, as per studies on jury perceptions.

henry homesteader 9mm carbine trigger

With impressive build quality, including a beautiful walnut stock and robust aluminum receiver, the Homesteader strikes a balance between aesthetics and practicality.

During our testing and evaluation, we experienced remarkable reliability and satisfactory accuracy, especially at close range, though the sight setup seemed more suited for speed than precision. Despite its higher price point and limited customization options, the Homesteader’s unique appeal and quality construction make it a notable contender in the PCC category.

Learn more about our hands-on experience in our Henry Homesteader review.

Buyer’s Guide

If you’ve decided to grab yourself a 9mm carbine, there are a couple of ways you can decide the best pistol caliber carbine for you.

It all boils down to how you’d like to use the 9mm cartridge on a rifle to your liking, whether it’s competition shooting, home defense, or just for good old fun.

Check out these important factors.

Construction, Size, and Weight

Whether or not you’re going for fun plinking, competition shooting, or self-defense, it’s very important to ask yourself what you’ll need this unique piece for.

If you’re looking for a home defense option, it’s best that you go for something more compact like a Hi-Point 995TS rifle that offers better mobility.

You should also keep in mind that the heavier rifles have lower recoil and vice versa. I strongly recommend you go for more compact versions for home defense.

But, if you’re looking for an all-purpose plinker, defender, and competition shooter, you can consider longer barrels and comfortable stocks.

Round Capacity & Magazines

Usually, you can find 9mm pistol-caliber carbines with a 10- to 30-round capacity.

For home defense options, you might only need the California-compliant 10-round pistol-caliber rifles, but if you’re going for competition shooting, I strongly recommend the 15+1 or 30+1 rifles.

The more capacity a rifle offers, the more it’s costly, and I personally wouldn’t consider going for anything over 15 rounds, to be completely frank.

Choosing Other Pistol-Calibers

What’s great about the pistol-caliber rifles is that they have so many models and brands that offer various calibers, not just the 9mm.

The common types can shoot .40 Smith & Wesson cartridges, .45 ACP, and even some .357 SIG Sauer cartridges but that’s pretty rare.

You can check out our guide on where to find the best ammo deals if you’re interested.

You can choose your very own handgun caliber and shoot it from a rifle, keep in mind that the 9mm is one of the rounds that offer low recoil and muzzle rise, so this should also be considered.

Conclusion

Through extensive testing and firing thousands of rounds, our exploration into the world of 9mm pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) has led us to some definitive conclusions.

The compatibility of 9mm ammo with both PCCs and handguns stands out as a practical advantage, simplifying logistics for avid shooters. The stability, low recoil, and efficient suppression offered by these carbines make them versatile choices for various shooting endeavors.

Among the myriad of models tested, the Saint Victor PCC earned our accolade as the best overall pick. Its superior precision, reliability, and ergonomic design set it apart, providing a remarkable shooting experience that resonated well with our testing team. The hands-on sessions underscored its consistent performance across a spectrum of shooting scenarios, making it a clear favorite.

As the debate around 9mm PCCs continues, we strongly advocate for a personal trial before forming a verdict. The distinct shooting experience offered by these carbines, as exemplified by the Saint Victor PCC, could very well challenge traditional perspectives and enrich the shooting repertoire of enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Brady Kirkpatrick photo Brady Kirkpatrick is the founder of Gun Made, the #1 online gun search engine. Recognizing the challenges of finding the right firearm at the right price, Brady built a platform to simplify the process, comparing prices across hundreds of online dealers and providing valuable content from trustworthy bloggers. His commitment to user-centricity and innovation has shaped Gun Made into a comprehensive resource for gun enthusiasts. In addition to Gun Made, Brady has also lent his firearm expertise to an array of renowned publications, such as The Truth About Guns, CrossBreed Holsters, Cheaper than Dirt, 19FortyFive, We Are The Mighty, and many others.
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Comments

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Troy Heck Wed, 16 Feb 2022 22:39:13

Hey Brady, I’m a friend of your Dad he hooked me up with your website I think it’s awesome! I was looking to do a AR-15 build but changed my mind when I saw the SIG MPX K. Can I build something similar to the MPX K? I was thinking if I can find a upper and lower that match up with the same quality as the SIG and build from there. If I can’t find a 4 1/2” barrel I could probably have a Gunsmith make me one. Can you give me any suggestions? I would really like to stay under $1,000 if that’s possible. If you could maybe tell me what upper and lower to use I could start building. Thanks Brady!!!

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Brady Kirkpatrick Tue, 03 Oct 2023 12:57:06

Hey Troy! I’m so sorry I never got back to you on this. I just found out there were a bunch of old comments I missed in my Inbox. Did you end up getting all this figured out?

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Steve Fri, 29 Apr 2022 01:25:15

The Sig is a great gun. Other than that the absolute best PCC is the Kalashnikov USA KR9. 100% reliable, super accurate, fantastic ergonomics, so soft shooting. You must try one. Worth every penny.

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Jack Evans Tue, 03 Oct 2023 13:00:30

I just got to test out the FPC… and WOW am I a huge fan of S&W’s newest PCC. I love how easy it is to collapse!

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Brady Kirkpatrick Tue, 03 Oct 2023 13:01:23

Thanks for reading, Jack! Our team has been thoroughly impressed as well, after testing it for close to a year now!

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