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  4. Extar EP9 Gen 2: More Than a Budget Pistol Caliber Carbine
Extar EP9 Gen 2: More Than a Budget Pistol Caliber Carbine preview image
Jul 31 2023
11 min read

Extar EP9 Gen 2: More Than a Budget Pistol Caliber Carbine


Extar has been making EP9 since 2018. The first generation EP9 was a budget-friendly direct-blowback firearm. Chambered in 9MM, the EP9 earned a reputation for being a high-quality, reliable, accurate, and durable firearm.

Extar was not content to just sit back on the success of the EP9. They sought to improve the EP9 and, in 2022, released an updated version of the pistol/carbine.

Is the Extar EP9 Gen 2 a worthy successor to the EP9 Gen 1? Check out the review below to find out what we think about the Extar EP9 Gen 2.

Extar EP9 Gen 2 Review

Extar EP9 Gen 2

Pistol-caliber carbines are very popular firearms. They have been the rage to some extent since CZ introduced the Scorpion Evo 3 in 2012.

Extar was not new to firearms manufacturing; they produced a firearm in .223 during the 90s. With the EP9, Extar set out to make a pistol-caliber carbine that is affordable, lightweight, durable, and reliable. Extar succeeded.

extar ep9 review with bullets scattered

Out of the box, you will notice how light the EP9 is. The use of durable polymer helps keep the overall weight of the EP9 down.

From the front handguard to the main body of the EP9, the gun is polymer wherever possible. The polymer of the EP9 also means it is ultra-water resistant and won’t rust.

extar ep9 review close up
Mag release

The controls of the EP9 are familiar to anyone who has shot an AR-15. The safety selector, magazine release, bolt release, and more feel like your AR. You can even replace the pistol grip and trigger with AR parts.

extar ep9 safety
Safety selector
extar ep9 magazine release
Bolt release

The use of Glock-style magazines is another great feature of the EP9. There are lots of manufacturers of Glock-style magazines, including Extar, which gives any owner of an EP9 a lot of options for getting the right parts for their PCC.

extar ep9 bullets with magazines

One major difference that the Extar EP9 departs from the AR is the charging handle. Instead of pulling your charging handle from behind, like on an AR, the Extar EP9 has a side charging handle that makes operation, at least for a right-handed shooter, much more intuitive.

extar ep9 with holosun 403b mounted

The Extar EP9 does not come with any sights. What it does have is a rail that runs the majority of the firearm’s length. This is an excellent way of mounting either an optic or iron sights.

extar ep9 profile photo

One of the most obvious differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 EP9 is the front handguard. Extar updated the handguard to one that is much more visually appealing, in my opinion. The handguard now has M-Lok mounts instead of Picatinny rails and is much easier on the hand.

extar ep9 gen 2 vs gen 1
Top: Gen 2 Extar EP9; Bottom: Gen 1 Extar EP9

Another difference between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 is the muzzle device on each firearm. Extar has added a blast director to the EP9, which is a visual improvement over the Gen 1s muzzle device.

extar ep9 blast director
Blast Director
extar ep9 front view
Sling QD


ActionDirect Blowback
CapacityComes with 18 round Extar branded magazine, 33 plus round magazines available
Barrel Length6.55 inches
Overall Length23.8 inches
Weight4 pounds (unloaded)

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable/Great Value
  • Lightweight
  • Reliable
  • Similar controls to AR-15
  • Glock magazines
  • Costs actual money

Range Report


I have experienced incredible reliability from my Extar EP9. I own a Gen 1 and a Gen 2, and both firearms have been excellent.

I really like the choice of using Glock-style magazines with the EP9 since magazines tend to be a failure point for many firearms. The ability to use magazines with a proven track record for excellence was a nice choice by Extar.


My EP9 is a real tack driver. I have not used it in a shooting competition, but the pistol performs very well. This is true for both Gen 1 and Gen 2 EP9s.

extar ep9 groupings
My best five-shot group
extar ep9 groupings full target
One of my targets from a trip to the range

Overall Feel

The overall feel of the EP9 is fantastic. The controls are intuitive. The EP9 fits the hands very well. I love how light the gun is and have used it several times to help introduce new shooters to firearms.


Glock-Style Magazines

One of the features that owners of pistol-caliber carbines can appreciate is the use of Glock-style magazines. Many PCCs use proprietary magazines, some of which have dubious records, not the EP9.

Extar selected Glock’s tried and true magazines for the EP9, and the results have been exactly as you would expect. 100 percent reliability.

Affordable Price Point

Extar prices the EP9 at $449. The value of this gun is incredible. You will be hard-pressed to find a PCC for less than $500, much less a PCC with the EP9’s combination of features.

How We Tested

I took the Extar EP9 to both indoor and outdoor ranges. At my outdoor range, Trinity Armory in Cleveland, Texas, I was able to shoot both paper and steel targets which really helped to highlight the versatility of the EP9.

extar ep9 range test
On the pistol range

As mentioned earlier, the EP9 does not come with any sights. I threw a Holosun 403B on the EP9 and took it to the range. The optic/EP9 worked well together and zeroed very easily. I own a Gen 1 EP9 in addition to a Gen 2, so I had very high expectations for the Gen 2 and its accuracy. The Gen 2 EP9 lived up to the expectations that my Gen 1 had set.

The pistol range where I spent the majority of my time shooting has both paper and steel targets, and while shooting the paper targets is great for zeroing your red dot and getting a good idea of the accuracy of the gun, it is the steel targets that I found the most fun.

Even without the benefit of a stock or a brace, the EP9 was a very solid shooter, and I was able to ring steel out to 50 yards with zero issues.

I haven’t yet taken my Gen 2 EP9 to the 100-yard range, but my Gen 1 excels at that distance, and I am completely confident my Gen 2 will have equally good results.

During the testing, I tried out a number of magazines by different manufacturers. I used the 18-round Extar branded magazine that came with the EP9. I used Glock 17 magazines, KCI 33-round magazines, 32-round ETS magazines, and 40 rounds ETS fun sticks. The EP9 was not picky and ran them all equally well.

extar ep9 range test with magazines and pmc bronze ammo

Ammo Used

A special thanks go to Natchez Shooting & Outdoors for providing the ammo for this review. Natchez is a fantastic place to go for your shooting needs; whether it is ammo, gun parts, reloading supplies, or something else, they have you covered.

Natchez provided PMC Bronze for this review. The Extar ate this ammo like a champ. It chewed through the ammo with zero fuss. PMC Bronze is not the only ammunition I have run through the EP9 in my time owning one.

extar ep9 range test with bullets scattered and pmc bronze ammo
Ammo provided by Natchez Shooting & Outdoors

I have run just about every type of target ammo through the EP9, and it has digested them all equally well. I have also run Federal HST through the EP9, both the 124 and 147-grain varieties, with zero issues. The EP9 is not picky. Feed it ammo, and it will run.

Score Card

Reliability (10/10)

The Extar EP9 is an incredibly reliable firearm. I would not hesitate to make this my bedside gun.

Ergonomics (10/10)

The EP9 is a great-feeling gun in the hands. It is light, points well, and is familiar to anyone who has shot an AR-15

Customization (8/10)

The Extar EP9 is not an AR9, even though it does bear many similarities. There are a few proprietary parts on the gun. That being said, many parts can be replaced with AR parts, and those that cannot have some aftermarket options.

Appearance (9/10)

Appearance is in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t like “black rifles,” then the EP9 probably isn’t your cup of tea. The changes between the Gen 1 EP9 and Gen 2 EP9 visually bump the EP9’s rating.

Value (20/10)

I don’t think you will find a better value in the pistol caliber carbine market. The EP9 is an incredible value.



Since the Extar EP9 does not come with sights of any kind, getting iron sights or a red dot is almost mandatory. I have a Holosun 403B on my Gen 2 EP9 and a Sig Romeo 5 on my Gen 1 EP9. Both optics are perfect adds for the EP9

Holosun 403B

Holosun 403B

The Holosun 403B is a quality, micro red dot sight that is perfect for pistol caliber carbines. It features a 2 MOA dot reticle and 10 daylight and 2-night vision settings for the reticle’s brightness. The 403B is shockproof and waterproof and a great addition to your EP9.

Sig Romeo5

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight, Black

The Sig Romeo5 is a lightweight and compact red dot. It features unlimited eye relief, a durable waterproof housing, a 2 MOA reticle, and eight daylight and 2-night vision settings for the reticle’s brightness.

This is one of the best red dots on the market and fits perfectly on your EP9.

Check out our SIG Romeo5 review here.

Stabilizing Brace/Stock

SB Tactical MINI

The current uncertainty with stabilizing braces makes this choice less certain. Currently, there are lawsuits across the nation relating to stabilizing braces and whether they turn your PCC into a short barrel rifle (SBR).

My Gen 1 EP9 came with a stabilizing brace, while my Gen 2, the focus of this review, did not. Comparing the two EP9s, the stabilizing brace does make stabilizing the firearm much easier. I also plan to turn my Gen 2 EP9 into an SBR, which will make the EP9 even more handy.


Grand Power Stribog SP9A1

gunprime.comCHECK PRICE

The Grand Power Stribog is a durable, versatile, and accurate pistol caliber carbine. It is one of my favorite PCCs. It features a light recoil impulse, and its compact form factor makes it a very handy firearm.

Check out our Stribog SP9A1 review for more info.

Foxtrot Mike FM9


The Foxtrot Mike FM9 is the PCC on this list that visually has the most similarities to the EP9. Its similarities don’t end there. It is also a direct blowback firearm that uses Glock magazines. It features compatibility with many AR-15 components and is a solid choice.

Smith & Wesson M&P FPC

sportsmans.comCHECK PRICE
gunprime.comCHECK PRICE

The Smith & Wesson M&P FPC is one of the newest firearms on this list. It is a full-size PCC that features a unique folding design. It is an optics-ready PCC and is a great choice for a backpack gun, truck gun, home defense, or range toy. Make sure you check out our full review of the FPC.

Check out our FPC review here.

CZ Scorpion Evo 3+

grabagun.comCHECK PRICE
gunprime.comCHECK PRICE

The Scorpion Evo 3+ is the newest version of CZ’s Scorpion line of pistol-caliber carbines. It features a 7.8-inch barrel and rugged polymer construction.

CZ listened to customer feedback when updating the Scorpion and added features and performance upgrades the shooting community has been requesting. If you want a super compact and lightweight PCC, check out the Scorpion Evo 3+.

Last Words

The Extar EP9 is a fantastic pistol caliber carbine. The EP9’s lightweight, compact size and ergonomics make the EP9 a pleasure to use and shoot. When making the EP9, Extar focused on the features that make a good PCC so popular and hit it out of the park.

The changes that Extar made to the EP9 between Gen 1 and Gen 2 were things that the Extar community had requested, and Extar listened to them.

The Extar EP9 would be a great PCC at a much higher price point, but considering you can get an EP9 for only $449, grabbing one is a no-brainer. There are a few added costs in there, like an optic and stabilizing brace or stock, but every firearm has costs to ownership, even ones that cost double or triple and EP9. I tell everyone who will listen they should grab an EP9. This gun is great.

Have a question or comment about the Extar EP9? Leave a comment. Also, head to Twitter and follow us so you never miss one of our articles.

Chris Fortenberry photo Chris is a firearms enthusiast and collector located in Texas. Chris’ passion for firearms started at a young age and was fueled by his passion for history. Chris used that passion to become a historian and feels that spreading the understanding of firearms functionally, socially, and politically is one of the paramount jobs of the 2nd Amendment community. He seeks to share his knowledge with those around him.


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