A Closer Look at Ruger’s New Pistol Caliber Carbine Models

Ruger Pistol Caliber Carbines

As they announced back in April, Ruger has released a line of six new PCC (Pistol Caliber Carbine) models. At first glance, the carbines differ mainly in aesthetic appearance. But there’s more when you dive deeper.

Let’s take a look at some of the specs, features and other design components that you might have overlooked for these pistol caliber carbine models.

Versatile Designs

Some of these PCCs don furniture of the more classic carbine. These have a fore-end of a more typical of a 16” barrel hunting rifle, while others have an MLOK “quad” rail more commonly seen on an MSR (Modern Sport Rifle /AR-15s).

They offer a takedown model in each configuration, for those wanting a very compact carbine choice. This is very popular for those looking to backpack carry something with more range and punch than their carry piece.

It is also useful for those who need to fly with their long gun, as it is discreet and there is no need for a long rifle case. (Those who compete in PCC 3 Gun will appreciate that aspect.)

The carbine extends engagement range from 15-25 yards (for the pistol) to 75-150 yards (for the carbine). The choice of optic mounted to the Picatinny rail becomes the major limiting factor for engagement range.

This technique of backpack carry with the takedown models is further enhanced by the fact that the PCCs are all able to swap between three magazine choices.

Ruger Pistol Caliber Carbines
Ruger’s new pistol caliber carbine models feature different design aesthetics. (Image source: Ruger)

Factory Magwells

All of these pistol caliber carbine models ship with a Ruger SR series magwell installed. If you happen to run a Ruger SR series as your carry weapon, magazine and ammunition compatibility are instantaneous.

The carbines also ship with a simple-to-swap magwell for Glock magazines. With minimal effort and five minutes, the firearms can be converted to run on standard Glock double-stack mags.

This opens up an entire range of compatible carry guns, as well as ubiquitous magazine options up to 33 rounds with factory choices and 50+ with magazine extensions.

Ruger also offers (sold separately) a magwell compatible for their newer Ruger American line of pistols.

Caliber Options

Caliber options are 9mm and .40 S&W. That is also the fat part of the bell curve for carry guns and offers tons of ammunition choices, from the super light/ultra velocity Federal Guard Dog line 50-grain at 2000fps (5” barrel) to the Seismic 185-grain at 1000 fps (5” barrel) in 9mm or the 140-grain Federal to 200-grain Underwood Defense in .40 S&W.

While I wouldn’t say that exactly makes for a Grizzly country weapon, it does seriously open the defensive envelope.

Ruger Pistol Caliber Carbine Models
One of Ruger’s new pistol caliber carbine models. (Image source: Ruger)

The Classic and MLOK Variants

I have not played with all the options, but my experience with the Classic and the MLOK furniture variants left a few opinions.

The Classic

The Classic is a light, handy weapon with a slight rear bias to the weight of the weapon. The ghost ring sight is very quick to acquire although by their very nature, trade speed for accuracy.

The short sight radius is a function of the takedown option and keeping both parts of the sight on the same component. Those two items are a comfortable trade-off for the engagement envelope and general mission of the weapon.

If a slower, more precise fire is desired, the rail allows for a multitude of optic options. Recoil is minimal and made even less with a small compensator attached to the end of the barrel.

This does increase the noise a bit, but again, I am happy with this trade-off. Follow-up shots are much quicker, as the light recoil of a 9mm from a 16” barrel gun is reduced even more.

The compensator also means a threaded barrel. This greatly simplifies suppressing the weapon. The Ruger carbines work well in this manner and exhibit minimal to zero gas in the face when running this way.


The MLOK variant is slightly less handy and has a noticeable front bias to its weight. This weight bias is caused by the rail being made of beefy stock.

Most ARs I own have significantly thinner material in their quad rail or have significantly more material removed. This is not debilitating by any stretch, but it does tire the support arm a bit more, especially for smaller shooters.

The ghost ring set up works equal well as does the compensator. With the portly rail, I would be hesitant to add many accessories, as it would further unbalance the weapon. A tactical light would be about all I would feel comfortable with.

Ruger Pistol Caliber Carbines
The author was able to test the Classic and the MLOK variants.


My only real concern for the carbines was something I thought would be a huge positive. My test model shipped with Tandem Kross accessories, like the trigger.

In theory, this very wide trigger should be great. The extra width creates an impression of a lighter than actual trigger pull. The knurling on the face of the trigger gives excellent feedback and confidence in grip and position.

The problem is, the knurling continues past the edges of the trigger. I wouldn’t quite call the effect knife-like, but it certainly is noticeable in casual handling and grinds off a layer of skin (or two) with sustained shooting.

A simple chamfer or radius at the edges would turn annoyance into a wonderful experience. Standard factory triggers do not have this issue.

That is my nitpick on an otherwise well-thought-out line of carbines that would be well-suited for rural varmint dispatching or running in the PCC class of 3 Gun.

What are your thoughts on Ruger’s new pistol caliber carbine models? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

John Bibby

John Bibby is an American gun writer who had the misfortune of being born in the occupied territory of New Jersey. His parents moved to the much freer state of Florida when he was 3. This allowed his father start teaching him about shooting prior to age 6. By age 8, he was regularly shooting with his father and parents of his friends. At age 12, despite the strong suggestions that he shouldn’t, he shot a neighbor’s “elephant rifle."

The rifle was a .375 H&H Magnum and, as such, precautions were taken. He had to shoot from prone. The recoil-induced, grass-stained shirt was a badge of honor. Shooting has been a constant in his life, as has cooking.

He is an (early) retired Executive Chef. Food is his other great passion. Currently, he is a semi-frequent 3-Gun competitor, with a solid weak spot on shotgun stages. When his business and travel schedule allow, you will often find him, ringing steel out well past 600 yards. In order to be consistent while going long, reloading is fairly mandatory. The 3-Gun matches work his progressive presses with volume work. Precision loading for long-range shooting and whitetail hunting keeps the single-stage presses from getting dusty.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (59)

  1. Well worth the price for my 9mm. Out of the box sent 300 rounds without a problem. Dead on target at 75 yards. Love the ghost sights. Lots of alternatives at cheaper prices but after doing the research this was my choice and glad I bought it.

  2. I’m impatiently waiting for Ruger to make the PC Carbine in 45 ACP. If and when they do it’ll be the next gun I buy. I have the 9mm version. I’m just waiting to see it in 45 ACP. If they do, I’m curious to see what type of magazine will be used.

  3. If ruger made this in 10mm it would be THE go to rifle for me in my area where the big thicket meets the gulf coast marsh! It would be right at home in a boat, in a tree or packed on the horse along side a g29!

    1. 10MM!!! Yes would be a great survival, home defense, close range deer/hog gun. 10mm seems to be a problem for most companies that puts out a PCC except Hi-Point. Kel-Tek I’m still waiting. 40 not cutting it.

  4. I would love to see Ruger build this thing in 10mm or even 45Acp if they are not on the 10mm bandwagon yet. That would make one hell of a useful rifle.

  5. When (if) Ruger does a 10mm, they will have my attention. Hi-Point already has one, but theirs is very heavy (and ugly).

  6. I have a PCC in the 9mm, 40 cal, and 45 cal. They are all fun to shoot provide good protection in the truck or home. An add plus is the cost of pistol ammo. It is just cheaper when I take all three grandson to the range for target shooting.

  7. Call me when they have a 10mm
    That’s my heavy hitting flavor of the month
    180gr 1300 fps. fits my idea of great sadle
    Rifle to go w/ my S&W 610. I’ve always liked
    A single caliber ammunition stock when out
    In back country. Every ounce counts.

  8. There are many self defense weapons but this one is mine, It’s a Bellini 12 gauge pump loaded with eight #1 buck shot rounds.

  9. Looks like a great idea! I have owned a couple (old) Ruger carbines chambered in 44 mag and really wish I wouldn’t have sold them. I especially like the “breakdown” feature which helps carry it around in a backpack on long hiking/camping outings with your other gear. I believe Ruger will eventually offer them in different calibers, especially 45acp,357/44 magnum and perhaps even 10mm. Overall it seems Ruger is offering another tool for those of us that enjoy camping and long hikes in the outdoors.

  10. Expensive to purchase and to fire of a reliable plinker?
    A 10 in right pistol is good to 100 yards and in Carbine would be 150 yard lethality.
    Why not to of produced in Bull pup as then no need of take down.
    CAr’s will soon be illegal but then too will be these nasty and scary multi round black guns.
    Like old Marlin Camp 9 and 45 with wood stocks, not so scary to anti gun, be nice to see Rugers in wood.
    Military look good for wanna be scary military types, Walter Mittys.

  11. I had rushed to buy one on first issue and sadly should of waited..The new ones come with the snappy rail out front and mine is the cheap looking hard to hold small one/.ALSO the 17 round rifle mag does not fit into the pistol and the 15 rounders do not lock into the rifle ..not happy and would like Ruger to swap out got the original so marked 9mm Police Carbine whicch is not a takedown but nicer rifle

  12. I bought the first one my FFL had. First design. Shortly thereafter a gentleman walked in wanting to sell the original PC-9, I grabbed it. Having said that. I have a Hi-point 9mm I’m going to sell. Never fired it. I’m still waiting for Ruger to release a 10mm version. I don’t want to be forced to buy the Hi-point 10mm. C’mon Ruger. Can’t be all that difficult to give us a 10m as you already have the 40 S&S.

  13. I own a Glock 17 & 19 and a Kel-Tec Sub2000 as they all use Glock mags, the Sub2000 folds in half, and all will handle most 9mm loads. The Sub2000 is deadly accurate at 100 yds (2″ groups). Our range doesn’t handle over 100 yds but I am betting I can get body mass at 150-200. Same mags – same ammo – that’s my bugout weapons of choice.

  14. I’m like Aaron k. as close to the 10 mm as you are that longer barrel with the Glock mags. It sure would sing pretty from an inch to 150- 175 yards no problems!!! Think about it……

  15. I have the standard stock version and I love it. There is no point to the m-lock and it’s way too fat and heavy. Haven’t tried it with a comp on the front yet, really wish I could put a can on it. One of my favorite guns on range day.

  16. I too, am a stubborn old man who insists on .45 ACP (or.45 Super) and I too see 10MM as the future. I have some practical experience with both 10MM and .45 +p in a law enforcement/ ranching environment in North Central Washington and North Idaho which is well known bear, cat and wolf (and bad guys on the run) country. While I realize that 9mm isn’ “Grandpa’s 9” anymore, and.40 can be effective, I’ll still be saving my money for the .45 and I will pounce on the “mighty 10mm” when it’s offered. Both have served me well. Until then it’s a no-go on the others for me.

  17. My duty weapon is 45 acp and I have no desire to go down to a 9mm. The 40 S&W maybe. All the PD’s switching to 9mm ?????? I have not bought one because I carry 45 acp.

  18. Funny to see comments about Ruger following Hi Point. Ruger invented the PCC decades ago. Had a very popular wood stocked carbine. Were a little ahead of their time, but times have caught up.

    Ruger quality will make this a top shelf PCC.

  19. I would like this gun more if it wasn’t a takedown as the cost would be lower and the option for takedown is irrelevant to me, otherwise it appears to be a great gun.

  20. I fired a few rounds through a classic version . It felt heavy. Otherwise it was nice to shoot from the bench. IMHO PCCs with the mag well in the pistol grip are better by being shorter.

  21. The classic looks very much identical to the 9 mm I bought about a year ago, down to the red dot I added this summer. Improved the accuracy significantly – the sight radius is just too short for me with the built in sights. Don’t really like the balance either – much prefer my 5.56 AR-15. First things I did was switch to Glock magazines, of which I have a bunch, and esp my 33 round ones – better use for them than with the Glock I bought them for, plus, adjusted the length of the stock. Still too long for me, since my limbs are short in comparison to the rest of my body. Another place where I really like ARs.

  22. Great!!! Self defense loads out of a carbine length barrel so when do we see the next new model in 45 acp for extended, effective range 50-75 yds…

  23. I have been hankering for a pistol caliber carbine for years but never wanted to pay the price they brought. I was thinking about the Ruger PCC and got a chance to shoot one as well as several other manufacturer’s models at a friends range. I wanted the PCC for self defense because I thought the recoil/muzzle rise would be significantly less due to the weight of the rifle, etc. I did not find that to be the case probably due to the extra barrel length. I found that with proper grips and handling, I can shoot my pistol just as fast and just as accurately up to 25 yards. I also believe the pistol would be more useful in close quarters. I’m not concerned about accuracy beyond 25 yards–that’s no longer self defense in my opinion.

  24. Would be fun gun for plinking at longer range. 9mm would be like plinking with 22 mag. As far as range but much cheaper. Other than PCC competition, home defense and plinking I don’t see much difference between this and the old Marlin Camp 9. As a police officer I carried a 9mm sub gun. It was fun to shoot but honestly the AR 15 was a more useful weapon. I believe if you’re going to carry a rifle. Carry a rifle. However the fact that it would be a fun gun that’s enough of a reason to own one

  25. I would have preferred an AR-15 variant with an adjustable mil-spec stock and pistol grip instead of a standard rifle stock. Why add an m-lok fore grip to a standard rifle stock? It doesn’t look natural. If Ruger comes out with one, I will be the among the first to buy. Otherwise, I have my eyes on a Windham Weaponry 9mm Carbine.

  26. I too would prefer a.45 option. With your standard .45 rounds already subsonic, putting a can on a PCC makes a great home defense weapon that will not kill your ears if you have to use it inside. Subsonic 9mm does’t have the punch of a .45.

  27. I bought a classic version in 9mm and an aftermarket violin case to go with it. Then I swapped the Ruger module with the Glock module. Now when I go to the range I can pack it, my Glock 34 and any of my other 9mm pistols or my 22 pistol. In all, I can bring the rifle and two pistols in the same case! As for the Ruger PCC, it has quickly become my favorite to shoot at the range. I put a red dot on it and it is very accurate even with my sixty year old eyes. Easy to shoot, recoil is minimal and easy to pack. It is easy to shoot for anyone, even beginners, and with virtually no recoil, it will not scare off anyone, even a first timer.
    The front Pic rail on the classic handguard is short and needs to be taken into consideration when using it. I wanted an Olight mounted there, but the sling bracket prevented the Olight from sliding far enough back. However I was able to unscrew the front sling bracket and voila. So with a powerful Olight and red dot, I am ready for any situation. I didn’t intend on using a sling anyway. If you do, beware. I highly recommend this rifle!

  28. All nice but I’m waiting for 45ACP or 10mm. I live in a 10 rnd state. If you only have ten, make them big ones. With +P45 or 10mm the rifle would be a better survival/ close range medium game rifle.

  29. My field carry is a Ruger GP-100 revolver chambered in .357 and .38 special I’ve had this unit for years. I’m wondering if there are any plans for Ruger to offer a PCC in that flavor. Anybody know of this as a possibility?
    I bought a 9mm Ruger PCC Classic takedown just to try it and have found it to be very easy to carry and incredibly accurate, best purchase I ever made.
    I understand that the “dead blow” slide may have issues with the variation in energy between the .357 mag and the .38 caliber but hopefully Ruger engineers will be able to figure that out.
    Also does Ruger offer a conversion kit that includes a barrel and slide to convert between the different calibers?

  30. The concept is a good one and an old one. Many years ago Law Enforcement was utilizing the 357 Mag revolvers… but had an assortment of long rifles that used 308 and even 30-30. So they had to have 2 calibers of ammo. Well…they decided on a 357 Mag Marlin Lever action. So then only one caliber (or 2 if 38spl was used). I bought one of the Marlins and it is a great rifle.

    And as Government would have it… they decided to go to a plethora of Semis.. From Beretta to Glock to Sig etc.. and now… most long guns they have , other than a 12 gauge is a 308 (normally) for the “SWAT” but most also have the AR15…now back to an assorted calibers… Hmmm what goes around, comes around.

  31. They really NEED to come out with a 10mm version if they want to stay with the times and open up a new market of customers! However, if I want a compact weapon I’d rather build a 300 blackout pistol which will have the power and silenced capabilities.

  32. I have several PCC and favor the Sub 2000. Light and reliable and with addition of a red dot, pretty darn accurate. I started with a 9mm Uzi and the weight difference is night and day.

  33. 44 magnum and or 45 ACP PLEASE……
    Everyone does a 9 carbine… 40 flat sucks in a carbine….
    How bout 10mm???
    Bring my Deerslayer from yesteryear back….

  34. I have always loved the idea, design, and use of pistol caliber carbines but I am a stubborn old man who carries and uses the .45 acp. So to say the least, I won’t be seriously looking to purchase one until I see it in that caliber. I would also like to see it in 10mm because I feel that it will be the future.

  35. Too heavy for the size, good design but front hand rail is too short and cost an extra $159 to replace with after marked hand rail.
    Manufacture should give new handrail replacements to original buyers of a bad design flaw.
    Is a nice gun with available low cost ammunition and flexible setup.

  36. I like the platform, I appreciate the .40 S&W option. However, 9mm in that carbine is sufficient for Home Defense. I could see the 40cal being good in that role as well. Albeit, full powered 10mm would be that grizxly bear dispatching option. I already have a Beretta CX4 Storm PCC in 9mm. Therefore, I do not have a need for it in 9mm. When it’s available in 10mm, I’ll jump on it for sure.

  37. Great rifle. For both law enforcement,and civilian use.
    I removed my front sight,put a rail where it was and a red Dot scope similar to a scout rifle.
    With a Glock 17 as my primary pistol, this rifle and pistol setup is perfect. One type of mag only for both weapons. Ruger pc9 is the perfect companion rifle

  38. I bought mine before the MLOK was put into production. For my needs, I think it’s fine just the way it is. I originally bought it for my wife! She has carpel tunnel in both wrists, and can no longer shoot a full-size handgun for extended periods. Now that she has it, she wishes she received one sooner. She said if I ever sell it, she’s going with the gun. I can’t blame her! It handles great, and along with my SR9C, it just makes sense. What’s not to like about having a pistol and carbine that take the same mags? With a Sig Romeo 5 and a Streamlight TLR-3, it’s set to go!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.