In settling the American West, logistics were a major consideration. Towns were far apart which meant long time frames between resupply stops combined with limited selection of items upon arrival. Surrendering some range on your rifle by selecting a rifle and handgun that shot the same ammo offered some real benefits in defensive scenarios. The abundant shopping centers and massive availability of goods in today’s America have pretty much eliminated any concerns for commonality of items unless we encounter an “off the grid” type disaster like Hurricane Katrina, or an ammo shortage such as occurred a few years ago. A carbine and a pistol sharing the same ammo take on a new appeal in this kind of situation. Fear not! I’m not recommending everyone go out and buy a lever action carbine and Colt replica revolver in 44-40!
America’s number one defensive pistol caliber appears to be the 9mm for several good reasons. A smart person deciding to build a new defensive carbine today would do well to chamber it in 9mm. Since there are several smart people at Ruger, it’s no surprise their new PC Carbine shoots the same 9mm ammo as their semi-auto pistols. Aside from chambering the world’s most popular pistol caliber, the Ruger PC Carbine has several features that are really brilliant from either a marketing perspective or strictly utilitarian viewpoint. The receiver is machined from a lightweight Aerospace grade aluminum alloy and includes an integrated Picatinny rail located toward the rear of the rifle over the trigger group and magazine well. Should you install some kind of optics, there will be no major shift in the carbine’s balance point such as you might experience on today’s popular family of Scout rifles. In front of the Picatinny rail the carbine has a ghost ring rear sight that allows extremely quick acquisition of a good sight picture. I’m not a polished rifleman, but the factory ghost ring sights let me ding the 100 yard steel silhouette target repeatedly at a fairly rapid rate of fire. My editor, who is a serious rifleman, mounted a 1X Aimpoint T-1 red dot and made music on the 200 yard steel silhouette. Whether you believe in duality of calibers or not, the Ruger PC Carbine takes your defensive capabilities well beyond the reach of your pistol.
In its fully assembled, “ready for duty” configuration, the carbine is 34 to 36” long
(depending on how many of the ½” spacers are required to fit your frame) and weighs just under 7lbs. The little rifle features a soft rubber butt pad, which isn’t really a necessity for a cartridge as mild as the 9mm, but it might encourage new shooters to practice more. Need to store the carbine in a smaller space? Simply lock back the bolt, press a button, rotate the barrel (and forearm) counter clockwise, and the gun is in two pieces much like Ruger’s takedown 10/22.
The glass filled synthetic nylon stock is extremely durable and has molded-in sling swivel studs and a forward rail for a light/laser. The 16″ barrel has a heavy contour but is fluted to reduce forward weight and is threaded ½”-28 for those who might be interested in installing a suppressor. The magazine release button and charging handle are reversible — you get to choose whether they mount port side or starboard.
Somebody in Ruger’s Marketing department should receive a large bonus this year for the idea of making the PC Carbine compatible with Glock 9mm magazines. The gun is shipped with a mag well that accepts Ruger Security-9 magazines. Remove it and drop in the extra mag well that comes with the gun and Voila! Your carbine now uses Glock factory magazines. It couldn’t be simpler or more brilliant. Millions of Glock pistols have been sold over the last 3 decades, and now Ruger has made it simple for their owners to extend the range and enhance the performance of their defensive handgun.
In evaluating Ruger’s new pistol, I may sound overly enthusiastic about the Security-9’s ergonomics. That’s because the gun fits my hand perfectly — a true rarity for me with pistols featuring double stack magazines. The compact polymer frame felt narrower than other wide bodies with all control levers being easy to reach with the shooting hand thumb. The thumb safety was easily and smoothly disengaged in the process of acquiring my shooting grip. The distance from back of frame to front of trigger seemed shorter allowing a solid firing grip with the dominant hand while allowing proper placement of the trigger finger. The trigger safety didn’t pinch or irritate the finger during a full day on the Gunsite firing line. Trigger manipulation was excellent, both in terms of a single steady press to fire and a distinct audible and tactile trigger reset.
Serrations at both front and rear of the slide allowed for safe and simple chamber checks regardless of whether or not hands began to cramp from arthritis or cold. There is a view port to determine if the chamber is loaded or unloaded, but as light fades, you’ll need a tactile check to insure the pistols condition. The Security-9 employs an internal hammer rather than a striker fired system, so you can see when the hammer is cocked by looking through the slot in the rear of the slide. This doesn’t guarantee the pistol is ready to rock — do your chamber check — it doesn’t cost anything to be 100 percent positive you are loaded and ready. The grip frame is textured such that it resembles stippling or skateboard tape, but it’s much less aggressive than either of those options yet more than adequate for control of the compact 9 in strings of rapid fire and a big plus is it didn’t snag on outer garments during presentation of the weapon.
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The Security-9, has abandoned the 3 dot system going instead to a post with white dot up front and white outline around the notch on the rear sight. The geometry provides a crisp, traditional sight picture in adequate light yet insures instant acquisition and focus on the front dot when light fades. Fact is, there was nothing on the Security-9 I didn’t like. Sure it’s got a manual safety that most don’t think it needs — simple solution is don’t use it if you don’t want to. It’s small enough and has a positive engagement so no need to worry about it going on when you don’t want it to.
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Shooting sessions were mission oriented rather than bench rest group testing. On the writers’ introduction days at Gunsite, we shot lots of MGM steel at various ranges. I had no failures with either pistol or carbine. All guns, both carbine and pistol, were equipped with factory iron sights: no optics added. On a range day back home with Sammy Reese, we mounted an Aimpoint T-1 red dot on the PC carbine and sighted it in on paper at 50 yards before running it on the silhouette targets at 100 and 200 yards. Controlled fire groups at 50 yards were 1 to 2″ with a variety of ammo — groups on the long-range targets were minute-of-chest!
Shooting the pistol off hand at 15 yards, my groups ran 2.5 – 3″ with the same mix of ammo brands. Hits were pretty consistent at 50 yards on the steel silhouette. Hits at 100 yards were more difficult to come by but still possible. At 200 yards, I hit the steel on my first shot and decided to retire on a positive note! Interestingly the Security-9 required considerably less front sight elevation than I had expected at 200 — the little compact could certainly provide enough harassment at that range to arrange your escape from a life-threatening situation. The carbine, when mounted with a red dot, definitely becomes an offensive weapon at the longer ranges. Whether or not hits at 200 yards from a 9mm would prove fatal could be debated, (couldn’t find an volunteer to take the hits to prove or disprove the hypothesis) but the ability to make those hits was confirmed.
The Ruger PC Carbine and the Security-9, make a great team. Carried concealed, the pistol is instantly available and fully competent for close range threats while the carbine can be assembled in seconds and put into action against targets at a greater distance. At Gunsite they say, “Distance is your friend.” Ruger’s 9mm Dynamic Duo gives you two good friends that could save your life in engagements from contact range to a couple hundred yards. That both these weapons use not only the same ammo but also the same magazines is a huge plus! The MSRPs for carbine and pistol respectively are $649.00 and $379.00 with projected over the counter prices considerable lower. I think Ruger will have their hands full keeping up with orders.
For more information, visit: www.ruger.com