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Pistol Caliber Carbines

One of my favorite kinds of guns to shoot is pistol caliber carbines. Mostly because they are tons of fun but also because they are affordable to shoot. If you are in the market for a PCC then look no further than some of these fantastic options.

Best PCC’s on the Market


primary arms rs 10 ar v

The PSA AR-V is a top contender in the pistol caliber carbine market, offering reliability and affordability.

This 9mm PCC boasts a sleek design and impressive performance. The AR-V has good accuracy and is a great value.

It’s the perfect entry-level option for those new to the PCC world.

Its reduced muzzle volume and compatibility with CZ Scorpion mags make it a standout among other PCCs.

While it may not have a last-round bolt hold open, it offers familiarity with the AR platform and the potential for upgrades.

Overall, the PSA AR-V PCC is a reliable and affordable option for those looking to get into the PCC game.

psa v m lok ept


• System: Direct Blowback
• Caliber: 9mm
• Mags: PSA AK-V U9/CZ Scorpion

SIG MPX Copperhead

byte sig mpx

The SIG MPX Copperhead is a highly popular and well-regarded pistol caliber carbine that is available in various configurations.

The trigger is one of the standout features, providing a smooth and precise shooting experience.

The MPX’s monolithic receiver is topped with a rail, and the skeletonized M-LOK handguard has a short rail section for mounting a front sight.

The MPX utilizes AR 15-like controls with a focus on ambidextrous design, making it easy for most people to transition to this carbine with ease.

The proprietary magazine is of high quality but carries a high price tag.

mpx copperhead

Sig MPX Copperhead

· Caliber: 9mm
· Semi-Auto
· Capacity: 20 rounds

CZ Scorpion Evo Series

CZ Scorpion Micro

The CZ Scorpion Evo Series is a popular pistol caliber carbine that is available in both carbine and pistol-braced variants.

It features a compact size and lightweight design, making it easy to maneuver. The firearm is constructed with a durable polymer frame and ergonomic design for comfortable handling.

The CZ Scorpion Evo Series operates using a blowback action, which provides reliable and consistent performance.

It is also highly customizable, with a modular design and compatibility with various accessories, allowing users to tailor it to their specific needs and preferences.

Overall, the CZ Scorpion Evo Series is a versatile and reliable firearm that is well-suited for a variety of uses, including home defense and competition shooting.


PSA AKV on Rock

The Palmetto State Armory AK-V is a unique AK-style pistol that offers 9mm ballistics and modernized features.

It comes in a number of configuratons, as well as a 1913 rail on top of the dust cover for compatibility with modern stocks and optics.

The AK-V takes special AK-V mags and has a last round bolt hold open and a buffer system in the back.

It is an homage to the Vityaz-SN Russian submachine gun and is heavy on Magpul furniture, including a Magpul AK Polymer Grip, Black Magpul Polymer Upper/Lower Handguard, and Black Magpul Zhukov (folding) Stock (configuration depending).

The PSA AK-V is easy to slip into if you run an AK variant, with a lever safety and paddle mag release.

It is rated for +P+ 9mm ammunition and comes with a 35-round PSA U9 pattern magazine, compatible with the CZ Scorpion.

The PSA AK-V is a reliable and affordable option for those seeking a unique home defense firearm.

AK-V Stock Photo


• Caliber: 9mm
• Forged Bolt/Carrier
• Stamped 1mm Steel
• Forged Front Trunnion

Ruger PC Carbine

ruger pc charger

The Ruger PC charger is a pistol caliber carbine designed for officers and civilians in need of a compact weapon.

It is available in multiple models and chambered in both 9mm. The gun has a takedown feature that makes it compact and easy to transport.

The reversible charging handle and interchangeable magazine well system make it ideal for both left and right-handed shooters.

The PC Charger also offers customization options, such as the available free-float handguard and M-LOK slots.

The firearm’s dead blow blowback system helps eliminate recoil, but the tungsten weight increases its overall weight.

The Ruger PC is a reliable, modern, and versatile firearm that would benefit both law enforcement officers and civilians in need of a pistol caliber carbine.

Overall, the Ruger PC Charger is an excellent choice for those in search of a reliable and versatile pistol caliber carbine.

ruger pc charger 2

Ruger PC Charger

· Caliber 9MM
· Semi-Auto
· 17 Round Capacity
· Barrel Length 6.5″
· Weight 6.9 LBS

CMMG Banshee

cmmg banshee

The CMMG Banshee pistol caliber carbine is a top-of-the-line AR-type weapon that offers many options not seen in other PCCs.

Its unique radial delayed system eliminates the need for heavy bolts, buffers, or springs, resulting in significantly reduced recoil during rapid fire.

The Banshee is available in various calibers, including 9mm, .45, 10mm, and even 5.7x28mm, and can be customized with different series that have varying features, including an M-LOK rail, ambi safety, and charging handle, as well as cerakote options.

The Banshee line is available as a braced pistol or a short-barreled rifle and can take either Glock or Sig P320 magazines, offering commonality between pistols and easy-to-find magazine options.

Overall, the CMMG Banshee is a robust and capable PCC that offers superior features and specifications compared to other carbines in the market.

Beretta CX4 Storm

Beretta CX4 Storm

The Beretta CX4 Storm is a pistol caliber carbine suitable for both sport and home defense.

It has a futuristic design with user-friendly features that make it highly effective in close-quarters situations. It is lightweight (5.6 pounds) and compact (29.5 inches in length), making it easy to handle and maneuver. The carbine is quick and accurate, but it takes some practice to get used to the 7-pound trigger. The Storm’s symmetrical bolt design can easily switch between right- and left-handed configurations by reversing the ejector, extractor, and operating handle. It can accommodate both PX4 and 90 Series mags, giving it a wide range of options. The Beretta CX4 Storm is simple yet advanced, making it more than capable of the most challenging tasks of a 9mm carbine, especially in home defense situations. Its compatibility with different magazines and accessories, as well as its versatility, accuracy, and ease of use, make it one of the best options on the market.

Aero Precision EPC

Aero Precision EPC

The Aero Precision EPC (Enhanced Pistol Caliber) is a modular pistol caliber carbine that is completely user-configurable.

Aero Precision, offers EPC-9 parts as completed lowers and uppers or as just a stripped lower and upper, allowing users to build it to their desired specifications.

The EPC-9 feeds from standard Glock magazines and has a flared magazine well for easier mag changes.

Unique features include a last-round bolt hold open, threaded bolt catch paddle, and a hardened fire control group to keep up with PCC recoil.

The EPC-9 is available in 9mm and .40 S&W with barrel lengths of 5.5″, 8″, 10.5″, and 16″.

Users can also customize their EPC-9 with their own trigger.

Overall, the Aero Precision EPC-9 is a budget-friendly option with quality-of-life improvements that set it apart from other AR-9 systems.

Kel-Tec SUB-2000

keltec sub 2000 full gun

The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a semi-automatic pistol caliber carbine that supports 9mm or .40 S&W cartridges.

It is highly customizable, allowing users to choose which handgun magazine they want it to take from a variety of popular brands.

The SUB-2000 is compact and lightweight, making it easy to store and transport, while still packing a punch with its power and accuracy.

It features a fiber optic front sight, under-the-buttstock charging handle, and plenty of aftermarket upgrades.

The unique folding design makes it ideal for backpacking or home defense. While it has a usable trigger and intuitive controls, it may not be the most comfortable gun to shoot for extended periods of time.

Overall, the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a solid and affordable option for those looking for a versatile and lightweight pistol caliber carbine.

KelTec Sub 2000 Stock photo

KelTec Sub 2000

Caliber: 9mm & .40 Caliber
Fold-able Design
Polymer Grip
Takes Glock Magazines

Century Arms AP5

ap5 looks

The Century Arms AP5 is a pistol caliber carbine that has gained popularity due to its resemblance to the iconic HK MP5 at a more affordable price point.

The AP5 is available in three sizes, with the largest version having an 8.9-inch barrel and the smallest having a 4.6-inch barrel.

It uses a semi-automatic roller-lock delayed blowback action, providing a comfortable and soft shooting experience with little felt recoil.

The AP5 has a 30-round magazine capacity, a top-mounted Picatinny optic rail, and an adjustable rear sight.

It is also a great suppressor host due to its detachable muzzle device.

The AP5 is considered one of the best PCCs on the market due to its reliability, ease of use, and affordability compared to other roller-delayed firearms.

Century Arms AP5 Stock Photo

Century Arms AP5

• Caliber: 9mm
• Action: Semi-Auto
• Roller Delayed Blowback
• Weight: 4.6 lbs

Angstadt Arms MDP-9

Angstadt Arms MDP 9

The Angstadt Arms MDP-9 pistol caliber carbine is a high-quality subgun with several key features and specifications. Here are the highlights:

  • The MDP-9 utilizes a patented roller-delayed action that reduces the weight and recoil of the gun, making it one of the softest shooting sub-guns on the market.
  • It is also very lightweight, just 14 inches long and 3.7 lbs. This makes it small enough to be carried comfortably in a backpack.
  • The MDP-9 runs on Glock 9mm double stack magazines, allowing faster magazine changes than conventional sub guns.
  • Other features include last round bolt hold open and an extended mag release.
  • According to multiple firearm experts and reviewers, the gun has a modern design and is widely regarded as one of the best PCCs on the market today.

Benefits of using a pistol caliber carbine

Lightweight and Portable

A lightweight and portable pistol caliber carbine, such as the MDP-9, offers several benefits to its users.

PCC’s compact design makes it easy to carry and maneuver, making it ideal for close-quarters battles as well as a good intermediate-range gun.

Calibers Variety

Pistol caliber carbines are available in various calibers, including 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm Auto.

9mm carbines are popular due to their low recoil, high magazine capacity, and affordability of ammunition.

.40 S&W has more stopping power, while .45 ACP has great terminal ballistics.

10mm Auto offers excellent stopping power and is suitable for hunting.

The choice of caliber ultimately depends on personal preference and intended use. For home defense, 9mm or .45 ACP are suitable choices, while for hunting, 10mm Auto is the best option.

It is essential to consider the pros and cons of each caliber before purchasing a pistol caliber carbine.

Easy to Use

Pistol caliber carbines are a great option for those looking for a firearm that is easy to use and master.

These guns are designed to use common magazines found in many handgun models, making them easy to find and affordable.

Additionally, the folding design of many models makes storage and transportation a breeze.

The modular handguard and Picatinny rail also allow for easy accessorizing and customization, while the low recoil and lightweight design make them accurate and fun to shoot.

With options for beginners, intermediate, and advanced shooters, pistol caliber carbines are a versatile and reliable choice for both recreational and competitive shooting.

Versatile and Adaptable Weapon

A pistol caliber carbine, such as the Beretta Cx4 Storm, is a versatile and adaptable weapon that can be used in various scenarios and situations.

Its lightweight and compact design make it an excellent choice for home defense or personal protection.

The low recoil and trigger of the carbine make it easy to handle and shoot accurately, even for novice shooters.

Moreover, the carbine is customizable, which allows the shooter to adapt it to their specific needs.

Overall, a pistol caliber carbine is a reliable and efficient firearm that can be used for sport, personal protection, home defense, and even hunting small game.

Fun Experience

If you’re looking for a firearm that’s both exciting and fun to shoot, then a pistol caliber carbine might just be the perfect choice for you.

One of the great things about this firearm is that it’s available in so many different varieties, you can easily find one that suits your needs.

Most PCC’s are lightweight and have low recoil, which makes them easy to handle and accurate.

The best part? It’s just plain fun to shoot! I personally think everything should experience the thrill and enjoyment of using a pistol caliber carbine.

Security at Home

A pistol caliber carbine is a great choice for enhancing safety and security at home.

With its compact size, ease of use, and increased accuracy over a handgun it provides a reliable and effective means of home defense against potential threats.

One of the key benefits of a pistol caliber carbine is it’s stopping power, which can be just as effective as larger caliber firearms with the right ammunition.

Another advantage of a pistol caliber carbine is its versatility. With a wide range of calibers and customization options available, homeowners can tailor their carbine to fit their specific needs and preferences.

This can include choosing a specific caliber for increased stopping power, like .40 Caliber and .45 caliber, adding accessories such as lights and optics for improved visibility and accuracy, and selecting a stock or grip that provides the most comfortable and secure hold.

Cost-Effective Option

Using a pistol caliber carbine can be a cost-effective option for gun enthusiasts for several reasons.

Firstly, the ammunition for these firearms is generally cheaper than that of traditional rifles. Additionally, if you already own a handgun, using a pistol caliber carbine allows you to use the same ammunition, reducing the need to purchase different types.

This can save you money in the long run. Furthermore, pistol caliber carbines tend to have lower recoil and are lighter and more compact than traditional rifles, making them easier and more comfortable to shoot for extended periods of time.

What to look for in a PCC


Pistol caliber carbines come in a variety of configurations, including blowback, direct impingement, and roller-delayed blowback.

Blowback carbines are the simplest and most reliable but can be heavy and have more recoil.

Direct impingement carbines are lightweight and offer smoother recoil, but can be more complex and require more maintenance.

Roller delayed blowback carbines are a compromise between the two, with less recoil but more complexity than direct impingement carbines.

The best configuration for a pistol-caliber carbine depends on the intended use case. For home defense or range use.

Ultimately, the choice of configuration will depend on the individual shooter’s preferences and needs.


Pistol caliber carbines are chambered in a variety of calibers, including 9mm, .45ACP, and .40 S&W.

When choosing the right caliber for your needs, there are several factors to consider.

One factor is the cost of ammunition, as pistol caliber rounds are often cheaper than rifle caliber rounds.

Another factor is the power of the cartridge, which is measured in foot pounds of energy and can vary based on the velocity and bullet weight.


Weight is an important factors to consider when choosing your PCC.

A lighter carbine can be easier to handle and maneuver, making it more comfortable to shoot for extended periods.

For example, a carbine that has too much weight towards the front can cause the shooter to struggle with muzzle rise, negatively affecting accuracy.

On the other hand, a carbine that is too light can cause excessive recoil, making it harder to shoot accurately.

Therefore, it is important to find a carbine that is balanced and comfortable for you to handle to ensure optimal performance.

Barrel Length

Barrel length has a significant effect on the performance of a pistol caliber carbine (PCC).

A longer barrel generally results in increased accuracy, velocity, and energy.

When selecting an appropriate barrel length for a PCC, it is important to consider the intended use of the firearm.

For home defense, a shorter barrel may be preferred for ease of maneuverability in tight spaces.

For sport shooting and competitions, a longer barrel may be preferred for increased accuracy and velocity. For hunting, a longer barrel may be preferred for increased energy and stopping power.

The key is to find the right balance between performance and portability to ensure that the PCC is effective and practical for its intended use.

Magazine Type and Magazine Capacity

A larger magazine capacity allows for more rounds before reloading, which is typically what you want in nearly all situations.

However, it is important to consider the ergonomics and balance of the firearm when selecting a larger magazine, as it can affect the overall handling of the firearm.

When choosing a pistol caliber carbine, magazine compatibility should be a key factor to consider. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  1. Compatibility with both your carbine and pistol: If you already own a pistol in a certain caliber, it makes sense to choose a carbine that can use the same magazines. This ensures that you have a consistent supply of magazines, and can easily switch between your pistol and carbine during a shooting session.
  2. Magazine capacity: Opt for magazines that offer a higher capacity, as this allows you to shoot more rounds before reloading.
  3. Availability: Consider the availability of magazines for your chosen carbine. Some pistol caliber carbines may have limited magazine options, which can lead to inconvenience and frustration if you are unable to find magazines easily.

By choosing magazines that are compatible with both your pistol and carbine, offer a high capacity, and are readily available, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable shooting experience.


The trigger is a crucial component of a pistol caliber carbine that greatly affects accuracy and overall shooting experience.

A good trigger can help minimize trigger pull weight, and provide a smoother shooting experience.

Conversely, a bad trigger can cause accuracy issues, and make it difficult to shoot accurately.

One popular trigger option is the Geissele SSA-E trigger, which provides a light trigger pull weight and a crisp break.

Another option is the Timney trigger, which has an adjustable trigger pull weight and reset for a customized shooting experience.

However, aftermarket triggers can be expensive and may not be at the top of your accessory list.

Suppressor Availability

Suppressors for pistol caliber carbines are widely available and can provide significant benefits while shooting, but do come with drawbacks.

Reducing noise can help with neighbors, and indoor ranges, and overall just enhance the look of the firearm.

They do cause more carbon buildup in the gun meaning the gun will need to be cleaned more often.

However, it is important to note that suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act and require a special tax stamp and background check for ownership.

It is also important to check state and local laws regarding suppressor ownership and usage.

Optics Compatibility

When selecting an optic or sight system for your pistol caliber carbine, it is important to consider compatibility with the carbine’s rail system.

Optics such as red dot sights, holographic sights, and magnified scopes can greatly improve accuracy and target acquisition, but only if they can be properly mounted on your carbine.

Factors such as ease of target acquisition and durability should also be taken into account, but without proper compatibility, your chosen optic may be useless.


What is a pistol caliber carbine?

A pistol caliber carbine is a rifle or carbine that is chambered in pistol calibers such as 9mm, .45ACP, and .40 S&W.

It combines the pistol cartridges with a full-size rifle platform, making it easier to shoot and cheaper to feed than traditional rifles.

Pistol caliber carbines provide enhanced accuracy over handguns and are easier to handle, producing less recoil and noise than large caliber rifles.

They are also often designed to use the same magazines as their pistol counterparts.

What are the advantages of using a pistol caliber carbine?

Pistol caliber carbines offer a unique blend of versatility, performance, and practicality that sets them apart from traditional pistols and rifles.

Compared to rifles, they are lighter, more maneuverable, and have lower recoil. Compared to handguns, they offer improved accuracy and handling, reduced muzzle blast and sound.

Their increased accuracy, reduced recoil, and versatility make them a great choice for competitive shooting, self-defense, and even home defense.

Overall, owning a pistol caliber carbine provides numerous benefits that make it a wise choice for any firearm enthusiast.

The most popular pistol caliber carbines currently on the market are:

  1. B&T APC9 Pro – This carbine has a non-reciprocating charging handle and a replaceable pistol grip compatible with AR-15 style rifle grips.
  2. Wilson Combat AR9 – Known for their high-quality pistols, Wilson Combat’s AR9 offers reliable personal and protection needs.
  3. Black Rain Ordnance Ion 9 Pistol – This carbine has a ventilated fore grip with Picatinny bases and cannot be shipped to 10 states and six American territorial possessions.
  4. Kel-Tec Sub-2000 – A popular choice for its demand and versatility, the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 is a reliable option for home protection and other purposes.
  5. CMMG Banshee Pistol – The CMMG Banshee series offers a variety of calibers and magazine platforms for a superb shooting experience.
  6. Zenith Z5k – Produced by MKE on original H&K tooling, this MP5k clone is the closest to a real-deal import-legal MP5k available to US citizens.
  7. B&T GHM9 G2 – This 9mm pistol offers an enhanced trigger system and ambidextrous controls for a sporty and inexpensive shooting experience.
  8. Ruger PC Carbine – This take-down rifle is chambered in 9mm and offers a custom “dead blow” tungsten weight for reduced bolt travel and recoil.

What type of recoil can be expected from a pistol caliber carbine?

Pistol caliber carbines offer lower felt recoil compared to rifles, making them easier to handle and maneuver.

Smaller cartridges fired from a carbine-sized firearm impart less felt recoil to the user than even intermediate rifle rounds.

This makes quick follow-up shots possible, setting up a PCC as an ideal platform for recoil-shy users or novice shooters. The reduced recoil also makes them almost rock-steady by comparison, making them an excellent choice for home defense and close engagements.

However, it’s important to note that the reliability and handling of the PCC depend on the quality of the platform and the ammunition used.

What accessories are available for pistol caliber carbines?

Pistol caliber carbines offer a wide range of accessories to enhance their performance and customization.

For sights, options include red dot sights, holographic sights, and iron sights.

Grips can also be customized with vertical foregrips, angled foregrips, and hand stops.

Magazine options vary from standard capacity to high capacity magazines that can hold up to 50 rounds.

Muzzle devices such as compensators and flash hiders can also be added to reduce recoil and muzzle flash.

Suppressors are also an option for those who want to reduce noise levels.

Overall, the same accessories that can be added to rifles can also be mounted on pistol caliber carbines, providing versatility and customization options for any shooter.

How easy is it to customize a pistol caliber carbine?

One of the benefits of owning a pistol caliber carbine is the ability to customize it to fit your specific needs and preferences.

Aftermarket parts for popular models like the AR9 are widely available, making it easy to upgrade components like the trigger, stock, and handguard.

Pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) generally fall under the same guidelines as rifles and the ammunition used has no bearing on the legality.

However, any PCC with a barrel length shorter than 16″ or an overall length shorter than 26″ is classified as a short-barreled rifle by the National Firearms Act (NFA) and requires a $200 tax stamp along with submitting a Form 1.

The ATF Form 1 is used whenever a person without a Federal Firearms License (FFL) wants to make an NFA purchase such as a suppressor, short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or an Any Other Weapon (AOW).

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