BLUF: The Ruger PC Carbine makes for both an excellent plinker, and an effective defensive tool. If you are looking for an affordable centerfire rifle, this could be the tool for you.
Shortly after Christmas, I was browsing one of the local gun shops with my father. I happened to mention that Ruger had just released a new rifle, the PC Carbine, chambered for 9x19. One of the employees overheard our conversation and informed us that they had two on their way to the store; We being impatient men, reserved both rifles on the spot. A few days later the first rifle arrived and we headed to the range with the PC Carbine and my Ruger Security 9 pistol in tow, but we'll get into the details on that later.
The PC Carbine ships with one SR9 magazine, and a spare magwell insert that allows the use of Glock magazines. You can also use Security 9 and Ruger American magazines as well, the latter requiring an additional insert. The only tool needed to swap inserts is an included hex-wrench and within a few minutes, you can trade your standard capacity SR9 magazine for a high capacity 33 round magazine clip. Gun-grabbers beware!
The push-button magazine release is reversible, as is the charging handle, and Ruger has included multiple spacers to extend the length of pull making the PC Carbine very friendly for those wrong-handed shooters and out there and all of their friends. Just kidding, we know they don’t have any friends.
Sights are pseudo-scout style--barrel mounted in front of the receiver--with a peep rear and an AR-15 type front. The sights are excellent, making both accurate shots at distance and rapid fire effortless. Accuracy is aided by the fluted heavy barrel and solid trigger.
Capping off the barrel is a 1/2x28 threaded muzzle, which meshes perfectly with my Silencerco Hybrid 46 suppressor. There is also a California-compliant variant (which my father prefers) that ships with a ten round SR9c magazine and omits the threaded barrel.
On the underside of the stock, you will find a small section of polymer 1913 rail for accessory mounting, as well as a stud for sling swivel placement.
One of the more unique aspects of the PC Carbine, at least in centerfire rifles, is its ability to quickly be broken in half. Remove the magazine, lock the bolt to the rear, then pull a lever on the bottom of the handguard while rotating the barrel, and the two ends will separate.
Those familiar with the 10/22 Takedown will immediately recognize this as being the same system. The similarities don’t end there: both use the same push-button safety, similar bolt release levers, receiver construction and disassembly, trigger components, and more. If you love the 10/22 but have been wanting a little more firepower, the PC Carbine should be your next purchase.
The first day we fired 310 rounds of the following ammo through the new gun:
75 Rounds each: Fiocchi 115gr ball, Winchester white box 115gr, Freedom Munitions American Steel 115gr
20 Rounds each: Federal HST 124gr, Hornady Critical Defense 115gr, 20 Rounds Speer Gold Dot 115gr
25 Rounds: Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P
There were no malfunctions using the included SR9 magazine, with 10 and 33 round Glock brand magazines, as well as 17 round Magpul GL9 mags. Magazines wobble quite a bit, though that seems to have no effect on function. The addition of a suppressor redirected some gas back into my face--slightly more than with a mid-length AR-15--but not enough to be distracting or unpleasant.
A Clear-Cut Winner
Some competitive options I have hands-on experience with are the Beretta Cx4, Kel-Tec SUB-2000, and Aero Survival rifle. Personally, I would consider the PC Carbine to be the best of the four.
The price is lower than with Beretta and Aero and competitive with Kel-Tec. With the PC Carbine you have the ability to swap between four different magazines and totally ambidextrous controls; the closest competitor, the Cx4, can swap between two types of magazines and is also completely ambidextrous.
The peep on the Beretta is so small that I have difficulty finding my front sight, let alone my target, and the whole thing feels like it just came off the production line at Hasbro. The Cx4 gets bonus points for being featured in a plethora of movies and video games, as well as a variant in military and police service.
The Aero has the advantage of AR-15 style controls, but the example I handled continues to have significant reliability problems even after being returned to the factory for repair.
Kel-Tec’s SUB-2000 folds in half and has a super low weight of 4.25 pounds. This lightweight comes at the cost of higher recoil, feeling similar to a carbine length AR-15. With Kel-Tec you have a history of quality control issues. This one seems more like a range toy than something for serious use.
While not as tactical or sexy as an AR-15 or AK variant, the PC Carbine is an incredibly fun, reliable, and handy rifle. It has found a place next to my old Winchester 94 as a permanent member of the family.