There’s no question that pistol caliber carbines are more popular than ever. Ruger, Colt, Sig Sauer, and CZ are some of the biggest names making them, and there are countless AR-pattern PCCs made by dozens of companies, big and small. Let’s take a look at the best PCC options for this year:
1. Aero Precision EPC-9
The Aero Precision EPC-9 pictured in the header leads the way as a modular PCC that’s completely user configurable. Aero sells EPC-9 parts as completed lowers and uppers or as just a stripped lower and upper. This means that the user can build it to the specifications, using their own trigger, etc. However, if they just want to buy a complete upper and lower and slap them together, Aero offers that as an option. The EPC-9 feeds from standard Glock magazines. Stripped lowers start at $139 and go up to around $400 for a complete lower with a stock.
2. SIG MPX PCC
The SIG MPX line is easily one of the most popular pistol caliber carbines on the market. Available in all sorts of configurations, from compact PDW to competition-ready PCC, we’ve chosen the competition model. The SIG MPX PCC model features design input from world champion PCC shooter Lena Miculek and comes right-out-of-the-box ready for your next match. One of the nicest features is the Timmy trigger, which means you won’t have to upgrade the trigger kit at all.
3. CZ Scorpion Evo Series
Second only to the MPX in popularity is the CZ Scorpion EVO series. These are, like others, available as either a pistol with a brace or in full-size carbine format. The new CZ Scorpion 3+ just launched and brings some serious updates to the platform as well. Additionally, CZ offers a Scorpion with a compensator specifically for competition shooting.
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4. KRISS Vector
Is the KRISS on this list for nostalgia purposes or because it looks cool? Why not both? The Vector was on the cutting edge of the PCC trend, arriving before most platforms did. It’s on its second generation now, with design improvements that make it easier to shoot. And, like the other guns on this list, it’s available as a stockless pistol, a braced pistol, or a full-size 16-inch carbine.
However, unlike most of these guns, it’s available in multiple calibers. 9mm is the most common PCC caliber, but the KRISS is also available in .40 S&W and its original chambering, .45 ACP.
5. Ruger PC Carbine
Fun fact: the Ruger PC Carbine isn’t Ruger’s first foray into the pistol caliber carbines market. Older readers will remember the Ruger PC-9 and PC-40 developed in the 90s as companion rifles for officers that needed something with longer range than their pistol. The PC Carbine is the natural evolution of that concept and is available in a dizzying array of models and also available in .40 S&W.
Smartly, Ruger designed their carbine to accept Ruger pistol mags or Glock pattern magazines with an adapter kit that’s thoughtfully included. Furthermore, the Ruger comes out of the box ready to party for under $700, which is a steal compared to most of the guns on this list.
6. CMMG Banshee
One of the more interesting entries on the list is the CMMG Banshee. While most of our pistol caliber carbines are designed to take the nearly ubiquitous Glock style magazine, the Banshee is available for either Glock magazines or Sig P320 magazines.
The Banshee is available as a braced pistol as pictured or as a short-barreled rifle. One thing about the Banshee that I noticed during testing the 320 magazine model is that it fed ammo that other PCCs would choke on. Some pistol caliber carbines don’t like jacketed hollow points or flat-nosed bullets, but the Banshee had no problems.
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7. Beretta CX4 Storm
The Beretta CX4 might make the list entirely due to nostalgia as well. Fans of the Sci-Fi channel series Battlestar Galactical will immediately recognize the CX4 as the prop rifle issued to the main characters on the popular show that’s now 20 years old. But of all the guns on the list, the CX4 is certainly the coolest looking.
Plus, it does accept Beretta 92 magazines, which are cheap, reliable, and readily available. There’s also a full auto version of the CX4 that Beretta sadly doesn’t bring to the US because in full auto, this gun would be the coolest thing ever. It’s still pretty cool, and when available, it retails for less than $1,000.
8. JP Enterprises GMR-15
Would you like to spend at least $2,000 on a pistol caliber carbine? Admittedly, it’s probably the best PCC on the market, but it’s also low on our list because it’s so expensive. That being said, the JP Enterprises GMR-15 is pretty much the go-to PCC for all competition shooters that aren’t sponsored by one of the companies on this list.
I’ve shot one that was fully tricked out with a HIPERFIRE trigger and a bunch of other competition touches, and I have to say, it was fantastic.
9. Kel-Tec Sub-2000
The Kel-Tec member of the pistol caliber carbines club has been around for a while, to the point that it needs zero introduction. It folds in half, which is really cool. It’s not really match-ready, but also it folds in half, which is really cool. Also, it takes Glock magazines, so like most of the other carbines, it’s easy to feed.
10. Hi-Point Carbine
Okay, hear me out. It is a bare-bones configuration; the Hi-Point Carbine costs less than $300, which in this market is a solid deal. And for some reason, they tend to run pretty reliably, as long as you stay away from weird aftermarket magazines. I’m not saying I’d get one instead of any of the other guns on this list…but also, for 300 bucks, it’s a fun way to turn money into smoke and noise.
Regardless of what rifle you pick, any of these pistol-caliber carbines makes for a great afternoon on the range.
This content was originally posted by Personal Defense World in March 2022.
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