Friday, January 13, 2017

My Pre-SHOT Predications — The Year of the PCC

Sig MPX, the uber-9

With just a few days to go until SHOT, I think we can see a little more through the glass darkly. Here are some random thoughts:

2017 is the Year of the Pistol Caliber Carbine.

In the last few days I've been flooded with news releases on PCCs. There are a lot of "dedicated" units out there, plus most of the big AR makers have already, or are planning to, push PCCs to market. We've covered this topic extensively here on the blog/podcast, on Facebook on and on SHOOTING GALLERY. In fact, this season on SHOOTING GALLERY we will feature 9mm carbines and pistols and discuss their rise. So remember, you heard it here first!

Several sub-points on this one:

-- Companies who got in early stand to reap big rewards. Kel-Tec with their Sub 2000 comes to mind immediately, We used Sub 2000s in the AMERICAN MARKSMAN finals, and they were a huge success…not to mention workhorses.

-- In the AR arena, CMMGJP Rifles and Rock River are all veterans in the market with solid products. JP has an upgraded version of their GMR-13, the GMR-15. I have a lot of experience with the JP GMR-13, and I would unequivocally say it is the top of the heap in 9mm carbines. But JP now has a lot of competition. Billy Wilson jumped into the fray last year with the Wilson Combat AR-9…I own Wilson Combat rifles and I've had a few minutes with Mike Seeklander's AR-9. It is a superb carbine, which is what I would expect from Wilson Combat.

--Sig Sauer has a MASSIVE hit with their MPX carbine (and the pistol version, for that matter), as does CZ with their relatively inexpensive Scorpion EVO carbines and pistols. The MPX has dropped neatly into the "MP-5 Oh My God I Have to Have One of Those!!!" category…I suspect if Sig could 3X their output, they could sell every one tomorrow afternoon. Sig's MPX (and CZ EVO carbine) sales will be driven even more by the next point…

-- USPSA has a huge home run on their hands with the Pistol Caliber Carbine division. New USPSA President Mike Foley took a big swing and hit this one out of the park. The first PCC Nationals will be held later this year, and the Sig MPX has — initially — emerged as the go-to gun for the division. I could go into a lot of blatherings about why PCC is the right division at the right time, but let me just throw some things out there…pent-up demand generated by 3-Gun, which is constrained by it high barriers-to-entry, ability to run PCC matches or ranges with only pistol bays, and ammo costs. Watch this one!

-- PCC-oriented companies like Quarter Circle 10 and Angstadt Arms stand on the verge of big growth, if they can keep from being run over by the big boys. Both of these companies build superb products. The "My Little Friend" pistol project for SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE is based on QC10 products, and the Angstadt Arms pistol I have is destined to become an SBR. ARES Defense (now doing business as FightLite), the innovative AR-based company that pioneered the belt-fed AR and the traditionally styled AR-based SCR rifle, is going whole hog into the PCC market, with carbines/pistols based on their submachine gun platform, that features the ability to convert to a number of different pistol magazines. I note there's even a Nigerian company, BNTI Arms, with U.S. headquarters in Jacksonville, rolling out a 9mm into the U.S. market.

-- The rise of PCC also breathes life into a couple of other areas. For example, IWI, whose Tavor bullpup was the best-selling 5.56 carbine in the U.S. last year, offers 9mm conversion units and full 9mm carbines, using Colt-style mags. I will be running an IWI X95 9mm in USPSA PCC division later this year. Beretta's CX4 Storm carbine should also see abig boost. One other area to watch is the RONI pistol carbine conversion units. Having worked with SBR versions of this platform, it has a lot of potential. If you're willing to pony up the $200 and hang around for 6 or 7 months for the SBR paperwork (there is a carbine version), it's a neat idea to be able to ratchet your pistol into the RONI and have a carbine. If you don't want to go the SBR route, Mech-Tech has had their CCU pistol conversion system around for years…I think I still have a 1911 version from 15 years ago in my safe.

-- Other companies that stand to benefit from this trend are makers of 9mm carbines like TNW Firearms and their multicolored Aero Survival Rifles, which recently got an excellent review from AMERICAN RIFLEMAN. Other dedicated 9mm carbine companies like Just Right and Thureon Defense stand to benefit as well.

-- I think part of the PCC explosion on the AR platform is due to the debugging of the Glock magazine platform. Carbines/pistols using Glock mags are an easy step for not just Glock pistol owners, but because of their easy availability and larger capacity (30+ round mags from Glock, ETS and the Koreans) are a good choice for everyone. However, the venerable Colt magazines are far from dead. The original 9mm AR submachine gun, the Colt 635 from the early 1980s, used magazines based on the Uzi (and Uzi mags could be adapted to fit), and that magazine quickly became the standard for 9mm AR platform carbines and pistols. There are a LOT of Colt pattern mags out there, and since many many companies are committed to the Colt mags, there is a lot of development… Stag and IWI-branded mags are a definite step up, available in 10, 20 and 30 round versions.

-- The growth in the AR platform PCCs is being helped by the widespread availability of dedicated AR lowers for Colt or Glock magazines, as opposed to the magazines spacer blocks used originally by Colt and most of the AR pistol manufacturers for the last couple of decades. Well made spacers were no problemo (my Spike's Tactical pistol, for example) but there were some really crappy example out there that caused no end to problems.

-- A couple of more platforms to watch…with this renewed interest in 9m carbines and carbine-based pistols, the venerable HK MP-5 is staging a major clone comeback. HK is offering, essentially, their own MP-5 clone, the SP5K in pistol version (although I have been told a carbine version is in the works). It uses the classic HK roller delayed blowback system, is crazy accurate and costs a lot, in the $2700 range, a grand more than the Sig MPX — although, to be honest, all the MP-5 clones will set you back more than any of the guns we've talked about. I've run the Brethern Arms clones — probably my choice if I was buying — and they were super, being, in effect, semi-custom guns. THE FIREARM BLOG recently did a list of the other MP-5 clones out there. Realistically, if you want to go full John McClane and, in your dreams, launch Hans Gruber off Nakatomi Plaza, this is the way you've got to go.

-- Finally, and a readily admit this is an outlier, you can get an M1 Carbine in 9mm from Chiappa Firearms. I love M1 Carbines and am at a loss to understand why I don't have one. The Chiappa runs off Beretta 9mm magazines and has a somewhat sketchy reputation for reliability. Both Inland Manufacturing and Auto-Ordnance make well-thought-of M1 Carbine clones (I've got a lot of rounds through the Auto-Ordnance version), and the guys at A-O even built a few M1 Carbines for 3-Gun competition in jurisdictions where the AR was banned/restricted. Be fun to shoot these in a PCC match (although by USPSA rules the .30 Carbine is not a pistol cartridge).

-- I haven't mentioned Hi-Point Firearms here because I have no experience with them. Hi-Point has taken a lot of flack over the years from snippy gun nerds (hmmmm..I wonder if I know any of those?!?!), but they've been around a long time and are dirt cheap.


KevinC said...

Sadly, no AR pistols in .22 TCM yet.

The ballistics on 22TCM look like a marked improvement on "PDW" rounds like 4.7mm and 5.7mm in their non-LEO formats, making it a perfect round for pistol-caliber carbine applications.

The development of the Modern Weapons System ION seems to have stalled, leaving us diddly and squat.

Michael Bane said...

I can't find an AR barrel in .22TCM, either. With the .22TCMR it shoud be a straightforward replacement barrel running Glock mags…


NJ Larry said...

Wait one dang second. You are writing about PCCs yet you fail to mention the grand daddy to all such derivative unauthorized fame stealers ! The Marlin Camp Carbine in 9mm and 45acp established the breeding line. Simple clean and at the time inexpensive they proved the point. The 45 uses std 1911 mags the 9mm uses what was available at the time, Smitty mags. Use and time showed the need to replace the buffer with modern Delrin and a slightly stiffer spring. Both can be had from Wolf. Today they push a 1000 dollars on gunbroker. The market speaks the truth. People want them. Remington/Marlin made a huge misstep by pulling them off the shelves. If they reintroduced they would sell a million.
For the last 20 years a 45 Camp topped with a JPoint (long before it was oh so cool) has protected my home and hearth. While PCCs are banned at my local pistol range, at the 100 yd rifle point I can put rounds on a paper plate all day long. It also has the legal benefit if the worst should occur of not terrifying a jury or providing a DA with black rifle "ammo" in a prosecution.

Overload in Colorado said...

Is USPSA doing major/minor with their PCC class? If they are, I'll pull my Marlin Camp Carbine out of the archives. Of course I've always wanted a Ruger Deerfield in .44 mag...
Can I shoot a M1 Carbine in PCC?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see another HK MP"10" in 10mmm again, only in semi-auto' of course. It'd be a great "back-door" gun for out here in the woods. It would pair well with a Glock 20 if they could share mag's. The Glock 20 would also benefit from a 30-rounder.

Life Member

clark myers said...

I'd mention a suppressor in the same breath as the pistol caliber carbine. Tavor with RatWorx is a lovely package.

Given a pistol caliber carbine in .22TCM surely a 9mmTCM would be close behind. I'd rather have a 9x23 and a .22 Zipperer but close enough is good enough.

Kristophr said...

I'd like to see an AR carbine in .460 S&W Magnum.

I wonder if the cartridge will fit through the ejection port?

Unknown said...

All we need is to get the Hughes Ammendment repealed and there will be a whole lot of submachine guns in civilian hands. I've got my Form 1's ready to go...

Michael Bane said...

• Larry…yes, I should have mentioned the Camp Carbines, and yes they are IDIOTS not to bring it back. I have mentioned that in High Places.

• Overload…sadly, the .30 Carbine cartridge is not allowed in PCC, but I will bring it to the attention of the POWERS THAT BE in USPSA. I love my Hamilton Bowen built .30 Carbine Ruger Blackhawk, and it'll knock your eardrums plum out! And I would love to find an AMT Automag III that actually worked…LOL…if there were any. I've bidded for one on auction sites. PCC is minor only, 125 power factor.

• Anon…your prayers will be answered. Brethern has one in the works, but SAVE YOUR PENNIES! It's gonna be up over the $3K stratosphere. QC10 has a lower that will take a large frame Glock mag; Olympic Arms has a 10mm upper that comes with the bolt carrier group (or I suppose you could use any cut for .40 S&W); there are instructions on the internet for modifying a Kriss .45 mag with the 25 round extension to 10mm, yielding a 32-33 round 10mm magazine (and Kriss has announced a 10m Kriss with an extension for Glock 20 magazines), so there's definitely a way.

• Clark...A 9 x 23 M1 Carbine would rock, but, Ironically the .30 Carbine has much better ballistics. Jim Cirillo used to tell me about using a cut-down M1 Carbine in the Stakeout Squad and he said it was a "hammer."

• Kristophr…an AR-10, sure; there have been .450 Marlin AR-10 uppers, and that's longer than a .460. The issue would, of course be the case rim on the .460. Be a pain in the ass, if not impossible, to get one to run. OTOH, the .458 SOCOM, one of my absolute favorite cartridges, will run all day long in an AR-15 platform (Wilson Combat if you want the top line; CMMG if you want a reliable gun that runs and runs) and has virtually identical ballistic specs to the .460 S&W.


Anonymous said...

MB, We stand in awe!!!!! ; )

Life Member

Publicola said...

I've only stared at the catalog offerings of Olympic arms, but they're one of the only makers to offer a 10mm carbine option out there. The cool (or not cool, depending on your tastes) thing about the Olympic conversions is they use a proprietary mag (18 rounds) that inserts into a standard lower. That means if you already have an AR (or spare lower hanging around) you can buy an upper & mags & you has a pcc. No idea how the Olympic works in real life, but their propaganda is alluring. Cost is around $1,000 for a complete carbine & close to $800 for just the upper.

Feather USA used to offer a sub-$1000 10mm offering but they've disappeared for unknown reasons.

There's also Thureon defense (at around a grand, the Aero survival Rifle ($800-ish), the Kriss Vector in 10mm goes for around $1500 & the Mech Tech conversio units (at around $500). All of those use Glock mags. I've read mixed reports of the success of converting a .45 mag to 10mm (which is allegedly the only way those Kriss kits will work) so hopefully they do come out with a dedicated 10mm extension kit soon.

Course if you want to go traditional Ranger Point Precision will take your .357 or .32-20 Marlin 1894 & $1250 & give you back a 10mm lever action carbine, which would go great with one of those single action 10mm's (Ruger offered them at some point) or a GP-100 10mm conversion from Clements Custom Guns (runs around $700 for basic conversion). Hell, a 12 round lever action in 10mm might even be legal in NJ! (though I wouldn't bet on it...)

Sadly those are the only options for a 10mm carbine that I can find at the moment aside from the H&K clones previously mentioned, or being real brave & deepening the chamber on a .40S&W Hi Point carbine (though I'm not that curious about how good my health insurance is). I'm not an AR fan so I don't have any lowers hanging about for an Olympic conversion (though it is a temptation) & I'm not a fan of Glocks so I'm hesitant to introduce a mag into my stores that has no pistol to go along with it. Life would be so much simpler if Mech Tech offered a conversion for the Tanfoglio/Witness.

What I would like to see is Ruger (or anyone coughMarlincough) come out with a nice little wood stocked carbine that lets you switch out the mag well to take different mags. (a few 1911 makers, as well as Tanfoglio/Witness, Sti, Sig & Glock are the only ones currently doing 10mm). It'd be a little tricky getting the geometry right, & more difficult to convince Ruger to make a gun that takes other folks mags than it would be to convince Macy to refer folks to Gimballs in the spirit of the season, but it'd sell real damn well. Toss in a dual extractor system so that the cartridge doesn't headspace on the case mouth (thus allowing .40 S&W in a 10mm chamber) & they'd have trouble keeping up with demand. Or beefing up the M1 Carbine to take 10mm would sell real well.

Not that I'm holding my breath, but it'd be nice to see either of those.

& Hughes amendment repeal? I'd "settle" for a complete repeal of the NFA & GCA & Lautenburg. That'd increase the number of sub guns in the hands of civilians that don't have a badge. If you're gonna dream, dream big. What's that old saying? Freedom - accept no substitute. :)

Overload in Colorado said...

Publicola: Feather is/was a local company to Michael, being out of Eaton, CO. I believe they were an off shoot of Harsh Hoists (now Haesh International). While Feather is gone, I believe someone is still supporting them. As I remember, it's a blowback design. Not sure I'd enjoy firing one in 10mm.

Publicola said...

Feather was in Colorado. They still may be, but their contact page has a phone number with a Louisiana area code now & they're not quoting or taking orders on new firearms, just selling accessories & doing repairs. I'm kinda curious what happened to them, as they were just up the street from me & I like to see locals doing well. Though after the gunowner control laws passed in '13, I can't blame them if they're making a move out of state.

The Feather, Thureon, Olympic, & Aero Survival Rifle are all blowback (though I'm unsure if they're straight blowback or they're some sort of delayed blowback. Olympic & a few others used to make Direct Impingement AR based 10's, but I'm not sure if anyone still does.

I'm guessing that because 10mm loads run the gambit from real mild to nuclear, any gas system would have to be adjustable to feed reliably across the board. (Then again, with a blowback or recoil system you'd have to have different spring weights on hand.) So maybe that's why ere'body seems to have dropped gas run 10's in favor of some sort of blowback?

(As a partially relevant aside, I thought Remington should build a 10mm with Pederson's hesitation lock. That'd definitely validate their attempts at reviving the Model 51. But I have noticed that firearms companies aren't paying me to tell them how to run they bid'niz. Which is a damn shame. :D )

Anonymous said...

I've NEVER used a pistol caliber carbine, I'm not dead set against them.
The question that keeps coming to mind is, "why not just use the pistol you've already got " ? ?
Second, is HK using those fluted chambers?
Thomas Bogan
Laconia NH

Anonymous said...

When that stupid SBR law does bye-bye, I will jump into the PCC market. Not before.

Then of course it will also need a can.

Fûz said...

9mm? meh.

Gimme this PCC thing in 7.62 Tokarev.

Asking for the Hughes Amendment to go away is commendable, but I'd kinda like the law to change toward allowing shoulder stocks on modern pistols. That gives you a carbine-caliber pistol that can become a carbine.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the KRISS is strong enough to handle the 10mm. That's my personal opinion after seeing a .45 ACP KRISS come apart on YouTube. I think that the MP5 was a perfect gun to handle it.

I like the 10mm round in all cases because I have extensive experience with it and the guns that are chambered for it. I've been shooting both a revolver and semi-auto's in 10mm since it came out and regard it as a pistol-to-rifle bridging caliber for defensive application. To me, it does everything well.

Life Member

Michael said...

No love for B&T? They have brought approximately 72 different PCC platforms to market over the past couple years, and are apparently doing quite well with the LE market in Europe. Most of their designs are available here in the US, now that they've set up an American subsidiary to import them. Rumor is that a major company (Beretta) bought the license for the P26, which I have. A great quality gun for a decent price.

Swiss quality, what's not to love?

Undecided said...

I hope these manufacturers make variants like the SCR for states where 'evil' features such as pistol grips are not allowed.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Why hasn't Ruger brought back their PC9 carbine? It was "mostly" a 10/22 with a different bolt and barrel. If they were to make a take down version that used SR9 magazines, they would sale a million of them.

Anonymous said...

"O"-ver! G-"O"-ne!

; )

NJ Larry said...

Free at last, free at last. The long national nightmare is over. Thank you Jesus.

Anonymous said...

As Sarah Palin said it: "This is the end of an ERROR!"

Life Member

richmi said...


some new PCCs emerged in europe lately as well. BARK from Balko, Stribog from Grandpower or CSV9 from czechweapons.

Indiana Jim said...

In watching the latest shooting Gallery show filmed at FTW with what appears The Trainer negligently handling firearms in front of what appears to be students, I was appalled. I have contacted Ruger Corporate as this show was featuring their new products. This kind of editing (or lack of) is careless and irresponsible to our industry as trainers. Finger on the trigger, muzzle direction, holding with hand over muzzle and etc. This trainer needs some training as he would not be tolerated on our range.

Scarlet said...

Very nice indeed. Need to meet up with you and try those out sometime.

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