The Ground Up

A FULL-CUS­TOM AR-BASED PCC BUILD

Firepower - - CONTENTS - TEXT & PHO­TOS BY JOHN SCOTT

A full-cus­tom Ar-based PCC Build

What are your fa­vorite at­tributes in the AR-15 plat­form? If you’re an en­thu­si­ast of the ri­fle, you’d prob­a­bly re­al­ize very quickly that there are many things about it that will come to mind. If you ask us, we’d say that it is its in­her­ent mod­u­lar­ity that re­ally keeps it as pop­u­lar as it is. Thanks to its ever-chang­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the nearly 60-year-old de­sign man­ages to stay rel­e­vant and shows no sign of stop­ping.

A hot trend among shoot­ers over the past cou­ple of years has been the pistol-caliber carbine (PCC). Although this cat­e­gory of firearm cov­ers many car­bines that fire pistol-caliber car­tridges, it’s the AR-15’S mod­u­lar­ity that makes it one of the most pop­u­lar ri­fles in this field. With the great num­bers of man­u­fac­tur­ers that make parts and ac­ces­sories for the ri­fle, it would be easy to as­sem­ble one start­ing with a stripped re­ceiver by us­ing noth­ing but af­ter­mar­ket parts. In fact, we did just that.

With pistol-caliber ARS be­ing as hot as they are now, it’s only nat­u­ral that we went ahead and as­sem­bled one from all-af­ter­mar­ket parts. The lower re­ceiver is con­sid­ered the foun­da­tion of the AR-15 and with pistol carbine builds, so it is im­por­tant to choose one that can ac­cept the mag­a­zine that you will be us­ing with it. In gen­eral, 9mm ARS come in two styles. One is the Colt pat­tern, which ac­cepts Colt-style sub­ma­chine gun mag­a­zines that are very much like Uzi mags, and the other takes Glock mag­a­zines. We opted to go with a lower that takes Glock mags.

The Crit­i­cal Ca­pa­bil­i­ties NC-9 lower is a ded­i­cated re­ceiver that ac­cepts Glock small-frame mag­a­zines such as those made for G17, G19 and G22. The lower comes com­plete with a mag­a­zine re­lease and ejec­tor and is ma­chined from 7075-T6 alu­minum. It is also has a matte-black an­odized fin­ish and a pre­ci­sion-ma­chined mag well with beveled lip. It is en­graved for use with 45- and 60-de­gree safety se­lec­tors.

One thing to know prior to as­sem­bling your own 9mm-fir­ing AR is that some tun­ing may be re­quired for it to run per­fectly. For your PCC’S sys­tem to work cor­rectly, you may be re­quired to tune your lower’s ejec­tor for it to func­tion prop­erly. To com­plete the lower, we added a few items from Bat­tle Arms De­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing the com­pany’s Cast En­hanced Bolt Catch and ti­ta­nium en­hanced front and rear take­down pins, which are pre­ci­son Cnc-ma­chined from Grade 5 Ti­ta­nium.

“Thanks to its ever-chang­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the nearly sixty-year-old de­sign man­ages to stay rel­e­vant and shows no sign of stop­ping.”

We also dropped in a POF USA En­hanced Fin­ger Place­ment Drop-in Trig­ger. The trig­ger is de­signed to nat­u­rally guide the tip of your fin­ger to the same rest­ing place for a pre­cise, smooth, con­sis­tent trig­ger pull ev­ery sin­gle time. Com­ple­ment­ing the take­down pins and keep­ing the trig­ger in place are a set of Black Rain Ord­nance ti­ta­nium ham­mer and trig­ger pins as well. Keep­ing ev­ery­thing in con­trol is a Black­hawk! Knoxx AR Pistol Grip. The grip fea­tures a more pro­nounced palm swell and a grippy, textured sur­face.

Mov­ing on to the rear, you’ll no­tice that we com­bined a Phase 5 Weapon Sys­tems’ Hex­one ri­fle-length buf­fer tube along with their Univer­sal Mini Stock to cre­ate a strong, lightweight butt­stock com­bi­na­tion. A BCM

BCMGUNFIGHTER QD End Plate was added for sin­gle-point sling at­tach­ment when re­quired. Within the buf­fer tube, you’ll find a Blitzkrieg AR-15 9mm Hy­draulic Buf­fer. Blitzkrieg part­nered with KYNSHOT to de­velop this 9mm-spe­cific AR-15 buf­fer, which they say uses hy­draulic shock ab­sorp­tion to dampen both the im­pact of the bolt at the rear of its travel as well as damp­en­ing the for­ward im­pact of the buf­fer's weight. This is all sup­posed to add up to softer per­ceived re­coil.

The buf­fer is cou­pled with one of JP En­ter­prises Cus­tom Cen­ter­less Ground and Pol­ished Op­er­at­ing Springs. The spring is ground and pol­ished and is said to of­fer a smoother and qui­eter op­er­a­tion in the buf­fer tube. We did no­tice that the typ­i­cal buf­fer noise is greatly re­duced af­ter the spring was in­stalled.

For the top half, we sin­gled out New Fron­tier Armory’s Side Charg­ing Pistol Caliber Stripped Bil­let Up­per with Last Round Bolt Hold Open as a start­ing point. Sim­i­lar to your .223 Rem/5.56mm AR-15, New Fron­tier’s up­per al­lows for the bolt to be held open af­ter the last round is fired, which isn’t al­ways the case with all 9mm ARS. For ease of pulling the side charger back, we in­stalled an ex­tended charg­ing han­dle, also made by New Fron­tier Armory. In­stalled in­side the up­per is a Faxon Gen 2 9mm PCC Blow­back Full-mass Bolt Car­rier Group. The BCG is ramped so it can be used with both Colt and Glock style sys­tems and, un­like other ded­i­cated 9mm BCGS, fea­tures an AR-15 piv­oted and sprung style ex­trac­tor.

The heart of this carbine is a 16-inch Rainier Arms Ul­tra­match 9mm bar­rel. It starts out as a stain­less steel match grade Shilen blank, which is fin­ished in a bead blast and ri­fled with a 1:10-twist rate. At its tip is the com­bined duo of the For­tis Muz­zle Brake and Con­trol Shield blast de­vice. The Con­trol Shield can

“With pistol caliber ARS be­ing as hot as they are now, it’s only nat­u­ral that we went ahead and as­sem­bled one from all af­ter­mar­ket parts.”

“One thing to know prior to as­sem­bling your own 9mm fir­ing AR is that some tun­ing may be re­quired for it to run per­fectly.”

be quickly at­tached and taken off and was de­signed to push noise for­ward while its top ports keep the muz­zle de­vice flat on tar­get.

The sexy hand­guard is made by Kaw Val­ley Pre­ci­sion. Made solely for use on PCCS, the lightweight car­bon-fiber hand­guard fea­tures an ul­tra-thin 1-5/8-inch outer di­am­e­ter. They get away with this small di­am­e­ter be­cause AR PCCS don’t re­quire a gas block or gas tube. So the space that’s usu­ally re­served for those items on reg­u­lar ARS isn’t needed. This al­lows it to be the thinnest hand­guard that we’ve en­coun­tered. The small di­am­e­ter does still al­low clear­ance for most muz­zle de­vices. Our in­ten­tion for this build it to run it at lo­cal steel plate matches. The matches have pa­per tar­gets that are as close as 5 yards and steel from 15 yards out to 150 and many times be­yond. With that goal in mind, we dove head­first into out­fit­ting the carbine with op­tics. The big dog on­board is Vor­tex Op­tic’s Ra­zor HD GEN II-E scope. The new­est ver­sion of this vari­able 1-6x24 pow­ered scope is nearly a quar­ter of a pound lighter than its pre­de­ces­sors and with its crys­tal-clear glass, even at max­i­mum mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, the Ra­zor is truly bang for your hard earned buck. It sits in a Mid­west In­dus­tries 30MM QD Scope Mount com­plete with smooth op­er­at­ing QD levers and a mul­ti­fac­eted ad­just­ment nut to get the ex­act ten­sion re­quired.

For close-up shots, we will uti­lize a Vor­tex Op­tics Ra­zor red dot that sits in a Mid­west In­dus­tries Off­set Rail. The off­set rail at­taches to any Pi­catinny rail and al­lows for the off­set mount­ing of lights, lasers and, as in our case, op­tics.

Be­ing that this build was based on us shar­ing mag­a­zines be­tween our Glock pis­tols and this carbine, we were able to use our ex­ist­ing “big stick” Glock mags. Th­ese 33-round be­he­moths are great to use in pis­tols at the com­pe­ti­tion, but are es­sen­tial to use with PCCS. We fur­ther mod­i­fied th­ese fac­tory mags by fit­ting them with Arre­dondo Glock base pads and springs. Th­ese base pads in­crease our round count by about five or six rounds, which is nice es­pe­cially when tack­ling mov­ing tar­gets such as Texas Stars. We’ve fed the PCC plenty of ammo since it was built, but it seems to like Rainier Mu­ni­tions 9mm 147-grain FMJ Match Sub­sonic the best.

The build, as with all AR builds, was a fun one to tackle. The best thing about it is that thanks to the mod­u­lar­ity of the AR-15’S de­sign we can change any sin­gle part of it we want to at any time. You know, in case a new part comes out that we’d like to try out. Then again, as with most of our ex­tra parts, they al­ways mange to spawn and be­come com­plete ri­fles them­selves. We won­der why that is!

“The build, as with all AR builds, was a fun one to tackle.”

The on­board op­tic is a Vor­tex Ra­zor HD GEN II-E scope sit­ting in a Mid­west In­dus­tries 30MM QD Scope Mount com­plete with smooth QD levers and a mul­ti­fac­eted ad­just­ment nut.

The POF USA En­hanced Fin­ger Place­ment trig­ger is de­signed to nat­u­rally guide the tip of your fin­ger to the same rest­ing place for pre­cise, con­sis­tent pulls. The lower is a Crit­i­cal Ca­pa­bil­i­ties NC-9, a ded­i­cated re­ceiver that ac­cepts Glock small-frame...

The heart of this carbine is a 16-inch Rainier Arms Ul­tra­match 9mm bar­rel with the com­bined duo of a For­tis Muz­zle Brake and Con­trol Shield blast de­vice at its tip.

For the top half, we sin­gled out New Fron­tier Armory’s Side Charg­ing Pistol Caliber Stripped Bil­let Up­per, which al­lows for the bolt to be held open af­ter the last round is fired, not al­ways the case with 9mm ARS.

Our in­ten­tion for this build it to run it at lo­cal steel plate matches; for close-up shots, we will uti­lize a Vor­tex Op­tics Ra­zor red dot that sits in a Mid­west In­dus­tries Off­set Rail.

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