RUGER PC CARBINE
RUGER’S NEW TAKEDOWN 9MM CARBINE COMES SUPPRESSOR-READY AND ACCEPTS MAGS FROM THE SR9, AMERICAN PISTOL AND THE NEW SECURITY-9. AND IT EVEN TAKES GLOCK MAGS.
Ruger’s new takedown 9mm carbine comes suppressor ready and accepts mags from the SR9, American pistol and the new Security-9. It even takes Glock mags.
I’ve wondered what is in the water at the various Ruger plants across the country. How do they keep coming up with these ideas? Not that a pistol-caliber carbine is anything new, but there’s so much in the new Ruger PC Carbine that is new, it is something to marvel at. And not to sound contradictory, but the stuff that is in there that isn’t new is new.
A NON-AR CARBINE?
First of all, it is a very old-school-looking carbine. It is quite reminiscent of the Ruger PC9 and PC40 carbines—the ones they made from 1996 to 2006. Those carbines used Ruger magazines of the time (but we’ll get into the magazine marvel Ruger has wrought in a little bit).
Those were, as is this one, blowback designs. The mass of the bolt and the force of the spring holding it closed are all that keep the bolt forward when you fire a round. The back-thrust on the bolt, caused by the pressure in the case, drives the system. The bolt blows back, the spring takes the force and then shoves the bolt forward, stripping off a round. All very simple, neat and easy to design, right?
Au contraire. It takes a lot of testing, fabrication or computer modeling time to determine just how much mass, how heavy a spring and how much travel so that the magazine has time to lift the stack of cartridges and get the next one in place.
Ruger has been doing this for a long time, so the engineers involved probably have the values of the various forces scratched into their desktops where they work, if not memorized long ago.
The stock design is not one with the modern tactical design. This is, no doubt, a nod to places where the carbine would be allowed—as long as it has this stock—but not with a more “tacti-cool” stock. Don’t worry: If this takes off as I expect it to, there will be aftermarket stock makers lined up to take your upgrade money.
The buttplate of the stock is removable, and you can insert or remove spacers to adjust the length of pull to whatever makes shooting comfortable. This can be a real boon to new shooters, especially those who might not have long arms. The back of the spacers is a rubber recoil pad to dampen the felt recoil of the 9mm Parabellum. The stock is glass-filled nylon and thus impervious to all known solvents (including New Jersey tap water!).
The trigger mechanism is derived from the 10/22 and uses components of the 10/22. If there is anyone in America who doesn’t know what a Ruger 10/22 is, please let them know right away, because they have been missing the boat.
Ruger has made millions of them, and it knows how to make the trigger mechanism. Besides, there is an arm’s-length list of gunsmiths who know how to work on it, should it go awry or if you feel the need to improve it somehow. Using an established system, instead of reinventing the wheel, is just plain smart.
... THERE’S SO MUCH IN THE NEW RUGER PC CARBINE THAT IS NEW, IT IS SOMETHING TO MARVEL AT.
The trigger system has a safety on it; it is your vanilla-plain crossbolt safety. If the safety is raised on the right side, it is safe. If it is pushed down flush on the right side, it is ready to fire. This works just fine for right-handed shooters. Lefties will simply have to mutter and deal with it, just as they have had to do with every other firearm with such a safety.
However, the charging handle on the bolt is another matter. It comes from the factory mounted on the right side of the bolt. But if you flip over the Ruger PC Carbine and look at the other side, you’ll see a slot and a threaded hole. You can remove the charging handle from the right side (the PC Carbine comes with the wrench you’ll need—another clever thing on Ruger’s part) and install it on the left side. Lefties, rejoice, along with anyone who wants to work the charging handle with their left hand while firing with their right.
The trigger housing also has a bolt hold-open tab forward of the trigger guard, just like the one on the 10/22.
The magazine release button is forward of that, on the side of the receiver, and it, too, can be swapped from one side to the other ... which brings us to the magazines. When you select a pistol-caliber carbine, you are also selecting the magazines from which you will be feeding it. If you go with an AR-based PCC, you usually have to pick from one of two options: a Colt magazine (actually a modified Uzi mag) or a Glock mag. Both have pluses and minuses, but once you pick one, that’s it. That carbine uses what it uses.
Well, Ruger changed that.
... IF THIS TAKES OFF AS I EXPECT IT TO, THERE WILL BE AFTERMARKET STOCK MAKERS LINED UP TO TAKE YOUR
As set up, the Ruger PC Carbine feeds from Ruger SR9 magazines, one of which comes with the carbine. You can also use the new Ruger Security 9 magazines. However, if you take the carbine apart for cleaning, you can remove the magazine well insert and replace it with one that lets you use Glock magazines. Yes, that’s right—you can use Glock magazines in your Ruger carbine. Or Magpul magazines for Glocks. The Glock insert comes in the box with the carbine. Those of you who have a Ruger American pistol can contact Ruger and score one of the inserts for that pistol, as well.
So, four different magazines to choose from. If you cannot find one of those magazines to add to the one that came with the PC Carbine, I will have to say you either just aren’t looking hard enough or you should move away from whatever antigun hellhole you live in.
The beauty of this approach is that, provided the housing and insert can accept the magazine feed angle to the PC Carbine, Ruger could, theoretically, make an insert for almost any pistol magazine ever made.
“But, I want more than just the 17 rounds an SR9 mag holds.”
Really? OK. Glock, as well as other makers of Glock magazines, makes a 9mm magazine that holds 33 rounds. If you really want more, a company called Taylor Freelance makes Glock magazine extensions. One of those gets your Glock 33-round magazine up more than 40 rounds per stick.
The bolt that feeds these rounds into the chamber has been given some extra R&D by Ruger, which built it with a tungsten dead-blow weight in it. This dampens the felt recoil of the 9mm cartridge.
The receiver that holds all this is made from a billet of 7075T6 aluminum and has a rail on top as a place to mount optics, should you be so inclined. However, Ruger has placed the rear sight on the barrel. This is a ghost ring sight, and it matches with the protected blade front sight. Why on the barrel? Simple: This is a takedown carbine.
To break it in half, just as on the takedown 10/22, make sure it is unloaded. Hold or lock back the bolt. Press forward on the takedown lever and then rotate the barrel and forearm clockwise. Pull it forward out of the receiver once the locking lugs have cleared their shoulders.
Out on the end of the forearm, Ruger has molded an accessory rail into the polymer. You can mount a light, laser or whatever out there and be ready to go to town—or, stay home and keep the home fires safe. And the forearm also has one of the two sling swivel studs the Ruger PC Carbine comes with: There’s one on the stock and one on the forearm, and you can rig it however you wish.
The fluted barrel is made by Ruger. It is cold hammer-forged chrome-moly alloy steel, and the twist is one turn in 10 inches. It will stabilize all the common 9mm Parabellum bullets you’ll see on the shelves at your big-box store or gun shop.
The muzzle of the Ruger PC Carbine is threaded ½-28 for mounting various devices. The device most of you will be interested in is a suppressor. The ½-28 thread is the common 9mm thread, but it is also the common 5.56 and .22LR thread pattern. So, just a reminder: Don’t let your friends or shooting buddies screw one of your suppressors onto your Ruger PC Carbine without you being in charge. Just because it fits doesn’t mean it works. This is not Ruger’s fault; every maker of rifles and suppressors faces this problem.
YES, THAT’S RIGHT— YOU CAN USE GLOCK MAGAZINES IN YOUR RUGER CARBINE. OR MAGPUL MAGAZINES FOR GLOCKS. THE GLOCK INSERT COMES IN THE BOX WITH THE CARBINE.
Shooting the Ruger PC Carbine in 9mm was a breeze; well, both easy and literally a breeze, because there was a stiff, cold wind blowing across the range when I tested it. Luckily. it wasn’t the single-digit temps that had been the norm the week before, but it was cold, make no mistake. The Ruger didn’t care.
I was interested to see how the 16-inch barrel would bump up velocities; and, in some instances it did. In others, the boost was minimal. Velocity increases in pistol calibers are greatly dependent on the powders used. If an ammo maker uses a pinch of a fast-burning powder—for economy or flash reduction—the extra barrel length just won’t help much. The powder has burned out and can’t push any more. If, however, the load is developed for speed, thus using a slower-burning powder, it can keep generating push farther down the longer barrel.
In any case, accuracy is a function of barrel quality and loading precision. Long gone are the days of 9mm Parabellum ammunition being seen as “cheap” surplus and centerfire plinking ammo. People expect to win matches and also defend
themselves with it, and the manufacturers have made great strides in accuracy since the “Dark Ages.”
As a result, accuracy with the Ruger PC Carbine was fabulous—despite the old-school information that a ghost ring out on the barrel that far from your eye was sub-optimal. It worked just fine in this test, but I’d really like to wring it out on a match stage or stages in a USPSA PCC match. The groups were quite good, shooting from the bench, but how will it do at speed? There’s one way to find out ... after the snowdrifts have melted.
Is this a competition carbine? PCC Division is currently red-hot in USPSDA matches. But those matches have been dominated by AR-based carbines. Again, time will tell.
However, the Ruger PC Carbine is a great home defense and travel tool. Because it breaks down into two pieces, you can fit it into luggage that doesn’t scream “Gun!” The controls are
... THE RUGER PC CARBINE IS A GREAT HOME DEFENSE AND TRAVEL
TOOL. BECAUSE IT BREAKS DOWN INTO TWO PIECES, YOU CAN FIT IT INTO LUGGAGE THAT DOESN’T SCREAM “GUN!”
understandable to anyone who has handled a pump or auto shotgun, an M1 Carbine and a host of other types.
But what gets me really excited about the Ruger PC Carbine is the potential. With a standard blowback design and a receiver that appears to be just a bit oversized for 9mm, what else can there be? Perhaps a Ruger PC Carbine in .45 ACP? 10mm? Now, wouldn’t those be fun?
And with the correct magazine adapter insert, Ruger won’t have to change the receiver; just plug in the relevant magazine insert. Oh, my—a Ruger PC Carbine in .45 ACP that feeds from Glock 21 magazines? How good would that be?
Then, there is the matter of the takedown design. It would be child’s play for Ruger to come out with an integrally suppressed barrel for the PC Carbine. Just as with the ISR for the 10/22, it would be a simple barrel and forearm swap on the takedown model.
To steal a line from a hit song of the 1980s, “The future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.” GW
The locking lugs that keep the barrel in the receiver are large, as you’d expect from a 9mm carbine.
The Ruger PC Carbine cycles briskly, but the recoil is no big deal. And suppressors thread right on. There’s an accessory rail out on the front end.
Voilà! The new PC Carbine comes apart just like the 10/22 takedown.
The rear sight is on the barrel—because, well, it is a takedown, and that means this is
a better place.
The muzzle is threaded for a suppressor or any other item you might
want to mount.
There it is. To put it together, simply reverse the process. The Ruger PC Carbine comes with an SR9 magazine that holds 17 rounds. Magazines that hold more are easy to find.
The front blade is protected by a pair of wings.
There is an insert in the receiver that adapts the PC Carbine to use other magazines besides the Ruger SR9.
The bolt is a blowback, the charging handle is bolted directly to it, and the bolt has a large extractor.
If you want the charging handle on the other side, you can swap it. Ditto for the magazine release; and Ruger includes the tool you need.
There is an optics rail on top of the 7075-T6 receiver in case you want to mount a scope there.
The safety is a simple plunger crossbolt design, and the bolt hold-open is the tab in front of the trigger guard, just as on a 10/22.
The modern look and taste are for synthetics, not walnut. Synthetics are less expensive together and don’t get dinged up as much as walnut.
The buttplate has spacers so you can adjust the length