Pis­tol Cal­iber Com­pat­i­bil­ity

Ruger’s New PCC May Have a Place in Your Bug-Out Plan

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Chad McB­room Pho­tos by AZ Photo Man

Rugers New PCC May Have a Place in Your Bug-Out Plan

The sound of a roar­ing en­gine wakes you from your sleep. You leap out of bed and look out the win­dow, only to see your truck speed­ing back­ward out of the drive­way with a stranger be­hind the wheel. As the man slams your truck into gear and takes off down the block, you no­tice the neigh­bors fran­ti­cally throw­ing suit­cases into their van. You can hear sirens echo­ing in the dis­tance. What­ever’s hap­pen­ing, it’s not good. Now's the time to get your fam­ily to a safer lo­ca­tion, but the high­ways are sure to be jammed with fran­tic driv­ers, so you grab your bug-out bags and pre­pare to hit the road on foot.

In this hy­po­thet­i­cal sce­nario, what weapons would you bring? A com­pact 9mm hand­gun, such as a Glock 19, pro­vides a con­ceal­able means of per­sonal pro­tec­tion, so it would be a good place to start. How­ever, re­ly­ing en­tirely on a pis­tol might be un­wise in the long run. The lim­ited range and ac­cu­racy of a hand­gun may not suf­fice when the time comes to hunt for food. On the other hand, run­ning out of the city with a ri­fle in hand may draw un­wanted at­ten­tion.

Long-time read­ers of this mag­a­zine might re­call the Ruger 10/22 Take­down sur­vival ri­fle we built in Is­sue 8. Such a ri­fle is light­weight, pack­able, great for hunt­ing small game, and could make a strong ad­di­tion to your bug-out load­out. How­ever, it would also re­quire car­ry­ing ex­tra mag­a­zines and .22LR ammo, a cal­iber that isn’t op­ti­mal for per­sonal de­fense or hunt­ing larger an­i­mals.

Ruger has re­leased a new ri­fle that shares the spirit of the 10/22 Take­down, but po­ten­tially of­fers more ver­sa­til­ity and stop­ping power. The Ruger PC Car­bine is a take­down model cham­bered in 9mm rather than .22LR. Bet­ter yet, it’s com­pat­i­ble with the ex­tra Glock mag­a­zines you’d al­ready be car­ry­ing in the sce­nario above. This means you’d need to carry fewer mags and only one type of ammo, sim­pli­fy­ing your load out.

In­trigued by the po­ten­tial value of this ri­fle, we set out to learn more about it and test one first­hand at the range.


Ruger’s first at­tempt at a pis­tol-cal­iber car­bine came in the Ruger Po­lice Car­bine that hit the mar­ket in 1996. The Po­lice Car­bine was mar­keted as a shoul­der-fired com­pan­ion for use along­side Ruger’s P-se­ries pis­tol, as both used the same feed­ing source. Cit­ing low de­mand, the Po­lice Car­bine was dis­con­tin­ued by Ruger in 2006.

Over the years, loyal cus­tomers have re­fused to ac­cept the demise of Ruger’s pis­tol-cal­iber car­bine line and, ac­cord­ing to pres­i­dent and CEO Chris Kil­loy, “have long been re­quest­ing the re­turn of a Ruger pis­tol-cal­iber car­bine.” Ruger obliged its cus­tomers’ re­quests with the rein­car­na­tion of its pis­tol-cal­iber car­bine in the form of the PC Car­bine. This ver­sa­tile and highly cus­tom­iz­a­ble firearm brings many de­sir­able fea­tures that are sure to be as pop­u­lar with RECOIL OFFGRID read­ers as its price tag.

We met this lovechild of the Ruger Po­lice Car­bine and the Ruger 10/22 Take­down a few weeks be­fore its of­fi­cial re­lease date. Af­ter spend­ing some time dis­as­sem­bling, re­con­fig­ur­ing, re­assem­bling, and shoot­ing this lovely med­ley of glass-filled ny­lon and steel, here’s what we learned.


Like its Po­lice Car­bine pre­de­ces­sor, this new car­bine uti­lizes a dead-blow ac­tion. The bolt is held for­ward by its in­er­tia and spring pres­sure. A cus­tom tung­sten dead-blow weight short­ens bolt travel and re­duces felt recoil and muz­zle rise.


The PC Car­bine has a cold ham­mer-forged, chrome-moly steel bar­rel with pre­ci­sion ri­fling. The bar­rel is fluted for weight re­duc­tion, bring­ing the gun in at just 6.8 pounds with an empty tank. The Model 19100 fea­tured here is threaded with a ½-inch-28 thread pat­tern for use with stan­dard muz­zle ac­ces­sories and comes with a scre­won thread pro­tec­tor. For those liv­ing in more re­stric­tive lo­cales, the Model 19101 in­cludes all the same fea­tures, mi­nus the scary bar­rel thread­ing. (NOTE: This is the same muz­zle thread pitch as stan­dard AR-15 bar­rels. Make sure any muz­zle de­vice you at­tach to the PC Car­bine is, in fact, a 9mm muz­zle de­vice and not a 5.56mm muz­zle de­vice.)


The Ruger 10/22 Take­down has been a pop­u­lar weapon among out­doors­men and sur­vival­ists be­cause the bar­rel as­sem­bly can be quickly, eas­ily, and safely dis­as­sem­bled and re­assem­bled with­out los­ing zero. Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on a good thing, Ruger de­signed the PC Car­bine in the same fash­ion, us­ing the al­ready proven lock­ing sys­tem of the 10/22 Take­down. Sim­ply push the re­cessed lock­ing lever and ro­tate the bar­rel/fore end as­sem­bly coun­ter­clock­wise

to un­lock the bar­rel from the re­ceiver and break the car­bine in half, mak­ing it backpack com­pat­i­ble.


The most no­table fea­ture on the PC Car­bine is its in­ter­change­able mag­a­zines. Ruger de­signed the PC Car­bine to ac­cept com­mon Ruger 9mm pis­tol mag­a­zines like the SR-Se­ries, Se­cu­rity 9, and Ruger Amer­i­can Pis­tol. Ruger could have stopped there and called it a day, but they took things one step fur­ther to en­sure that this new car­bine would be a draw to more than just die-hard Ruger fans. With a quick and easy mag­a­zine-well swap, the PC Car­bine will ac­cept stan­dard Glock 9mm mag­a­zines.

This is a some­what un­ex­pected move by Ruger, as they aren’t known for be­ing par­tic­u­larly well sup­ported by the af­ter­mar­ket or even con­cerned with ease-of-com­pat­i­bil­ity for the end user. We’re thank­ful to see it and, if the S ever re­ally does HTF, you’ll prob­a­bly be thank­ful too.

Swap­ping out mag­a­zine well as­sem­blies couldn’t be any eas­ier. Even with­out the aid of a user’s man­ual, we were able to fig­ure out how to ex­change the pre­in­stalled SR-Se­ries/Se­cu­rity 9 mag­a­zine well with the in­cluded Glock-com­pat­i­ble mag­a­zine well in a mat­ter of min­utes. With the bar­rel/fore end as­sem­bly re­moved, sim­ply re­move the re­ceiver from the stock via the two 5/32-inch hex take­down screws, then com­press the mag­a­zine re­lease and re­move the mag­well as­sem­bly from the top. Slide in the other mag­well as­sem­bly, and you’re ready to feed lead from your fa­vorite Glock mag­a­zine.


Hav­ing op­tions like am­bidex­trous con­trols used to be a con­cern for only the small per­cent­age of left-handed shoot­ers out there, but as shoot­ing tech­niques and tac­tics have con­tin­ued to de­velop along with firearms tech­nol­ogy, the need for customization has be­come more ap­par­ent. That need is com­pounded when we break away from fa­mil­iar tac­ti­cal plat­forms like the AR-15 and try to carry over our well-in­grained tac­tics. The cus­tom­iz­a­ble fea­tures of the PC Car­bine help bring the shooter to a happy place where their weapon ma­nip­u­la­tion skills can be fa­mil­iar and ef fi­cient.

Out of the box, the PC Car­bine is set up with the mag­a­zine re­lease but­ton on the left side and the charg­ing han­dle on the right side. Since we here at RECOIL OFFGRID tend to look at things from the afore­men­tioned SHTF per­spec­tive, we de­cided to re­con­fig­ure this setup to make it more com­bat friendly.

Af­ter work­ing through some reloads and fig­ur­ing out the most ef­fi­cient or­der of op­er­a­tions, we moved the charg­ing han­dle to the left side and the mag-re­lease but­ton to the right side. Swap­ping the charg­ing han­dle to

the left side al­lowed for FAL-style sup­port-hand oper­a­tion of the bolt as­sem­bly. Hav­ing the mag-re­lease on the left side re­quired us to hit the re­lease at an awk­ward an­gle us­ing the thumb and re­duc­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the reload­ing pro­ce­dure, whereas mov­ing it to the right al­lowed us to slide the sup­port-hand straight back and hit the re­lease with the mid­dle fin­ger while en route to a fresh mag­a­zine on the belt.

To ac­count for body size and length of pull vari­a­tions be­tween shoot­ers, the PC Car­bine comes with three ½-inch spac­ers that al­low the length of pull to be ad­justed from 12 5/8- to 14 1/8-inch in ½-inch in­cre­ments. Th­ese spac­ers sit be­tween the butt­stock and recoil pad and are held in place with two hex screws.


The bang switch on the PC Car­bine uses 80-per­cent 10/22 com­po­nents. The trig­ger is de­cent out of the box — it has a crisp pull and pos­i­tive re­set with min­i­mal over­travel. Al­though we didn’t have a chance to test this the­ory, it’s quite pos­si­ble that if one were to ob­tain cer­tain qual­ity 10/22 af­ter­mar­ket trig­ger parts, one might end up with an en­hanced trig­ger wor­thy of the high­est ac­co­lades. But again, it’s just a the­ory.


The PC Car­bine is out­fit­ted with a ghost-ring ad­justable rear sight and a non-glare, pro­tected front sight. Both sights are mounted on the bar­rel for­ward of the re­ceiver. This re­duces the sight ra­dius but en­sures con­sis­tency dur­ing take­down and re­assem­bly. All ad­just­ments are made with the rear sight by loos­en­ing the windage or el­e­va­tion set screws and slid­ing the aper­ture in the direc­tion you want bul­let im­pact to shift.

The sight­ing sys­tem is prob­a­bly the PC Car­bine’s big­gest down­fall. The free-slid­ing aper­ture and lack of pos­i­tive click ad­just­ments make small sight­ing cor­rec­tions more dif­fi­cult than nec­es­sary, but it's still a func­tional sys­tem. For­tu­nately, the PC Car­bine has plenty of rail space on the re­ceiver, so in keep­ing with the com­pact, pack­able na­ture of the gun, we in­stalled an EOTECH Mini Red Dot Sight (MRDS) for use dur­ing test­ing. It proved to be a per­fect com­pan­ion for the PC Car­bine.


With the PC Car­bine re­con­fig­ured to our lik­ing, we dropped in the Glock mag­a­zine well, grabbed a hand­ful of Gen4 9mm Glock mag­a­zines, cour­tesy of Elite Tac­ti­cal Sys­tems, and headed to the range to see what this baby could do. In­cluded in the range bag were sev­eral boxes of Fed­eral’s 115-grain Train + Pro­tect VHP and the newly re­leased 124-grain Amer­i­can Ea­gle Syn­tech am­mu­ni­tion.

Af­ter get­ting a quick zero with the MRDS at 25 yards to make sure we were on pa­per, we moved back to the 50-yard line to get a more suit­able zero. At 50 yards, shot

group­ing was con­sis­tently within 1.5 inches with both the 115- and 124-grain. This is quite an ac­cept­able level of ac­cu­racy for a pis­tol-cal­iber weapon. What’s more, the PC Car­bine re­tained its zero af­ter take­down and re­assem­bly, even with the op­tic mounted on the re­ceiver.

We spent most of the range time run­ning “up drills” at 15 yards — two- to three-round vol­leys. The barely no­tice­able recoil and red-dot op­tic made tar­get ac­qui­si­tion and fol­low-up shots quick and ac­cu­rate. Our chief com­plaint from a tac­ti­cal stand­point would be the push-but­ton safety, which re­quires the shooter to break their shoot­ing grip to put the gun on safe. Not a deal-breaker, though, as this is a com­mon and re­li­able safety de­sign.

Func­tion­ally, the PC Car­bine per­formed quite well. In al­most 400 rounds of hard run­ning, we failed to ex­pe­ri­ence a sin­gle mal­func­tion. This brings us to our fi­nal word of cau­tion. The PC Car­bine is ex­tremely fun to shoot, so if you’re not care­ful, you can eas­ily blow through sev­eral boxes of 9mm be­fore you re­mem­ber you’re not shoot­ing a 10/22.


If you’re look­ing for a pack­able long-arm that won’t break the bank and is com­pat­i­ble with your beloved Glock or Ruger-fam­ily 9mm pis­tol, the PC Car­bine might just be the an­swer. Your bug-out bag will wel­come the ad­di­tion.

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